Paul Gorman is…

Zippo Records: 13th Floor Elevators mural, Cope’s Droolian LP, MC5′s motherfuckers tee + The Conqueroo Dog

Sep 18th, 2014
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//13th Floor Elevators mural inside Zippo Records, Clapham Park, south-west London, mid-80s, courtesy Pete Flanagan//

Pete Flanagan, owner of the long-gone Zippo Records in Clapham, south London, has sent me this photograph of the shop interior.

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//Front cover, Droolian, Julian Cope, Zippo/Mofoco, 1989//

It sums up everything that was wonderful about this unique space, where Pete established a hub for like-minded souls. With staff including Edwin Pouncey (aka Savage Pencil), Pete also released otherwise hard-to-find records via his own independent imprints. These included Heartland, 5 Hours Back and MoFoCo for Julian Cope’s towering LP Droolian.

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//Droolian’s back cover//

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//Zippo’s distinctive price label (this from The Many Faces Of Gale Garnett, an obscure 1965 release on RCA)//

I bought a lot of music and also an example of every one of the short-run t-shirts Zippo sold, including my favourite, this MC5 number (other owners, and there can’t be many because they were printed in very limited numbers, include Bobby Gillespie).

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As a local I was a Zippo regular with our Battersea hound Tom. Pete christened him “The Conqueroo Dog” after the four-legged friend on the cover of his reissue of the Austin band’s 1968 release From The Vulcan Gas Company.

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//Front cover, From The Vulcan Gas Company, The Conqueroo, 1968/reissued 1987 on 5 Hours Back//

When Zippo closed I bought a whole load of stock and had a few happy years trading in vinyl as a sideline, until my back gave out.

Pete’s still at it, running Soho Music which is now on eBay – see here.

I bumped into Edwin P a couple of years back; he was in the company of another great person who was also a former Zippo staffer. Can’t for the life of me recall his name but hopefully he’ll see this and get in touch.

See what Savage Pencil is up to here.

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Sleevenotes: “Jumping Jesus, my old man was brilliant. It’s back for another scream in the closet” Ki-Longfellow Stanshall for the PoppyDisc reissue of Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead

Sep 1st, 2014

beasht“What’s to say, save that his contempt was not reserved solely for the music business? Or the art business. Or the business of being human. There were times when he saw with his own dead eyes. But he had the sight to see through them.”

K-LS on the album’s opening track Afoju Ti Ole Riran (Dead Eyes)

Ki-Longfellow Stanshall’s sleevenotes for the 2012 reissue of the lost classic Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead are stunning, filled with anguish and joy, rather like the life and work of the LP’s creator, her much-missed partner Vivian Stanshall.

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I treasure my vinyl copy, put out with much love by my old mucker Joe Foster, and heartily recommend the Afro-flavoured grooves Stanshall brewed up back in 1974 with such fellow legends as Reebop Kwaku Baah, Jim Capaldi, Neil Innes, Gaspar Lawal and Steve Winwood.

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//The PoppyDisc reissue recreates the sleeve artwork of the Warner 1974 release: Cover drawing by Peter Till//

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//Back cover of original release. Photo: Barrie Wentzell//

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Buy a copy of PoppyDisc’s vinyl reissue of Men Opening Umbrellas Ahead here.

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It’s just never enough: Nowhere Is Home, the new Dexys film

Feb 14th, 2014

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“Do you know what? I was a no-hoper. Prison was a possibility, you know, an absolute possibility for me. It was probably 50:50 whether I’d end up there or not.

“I was considered a failure. I left school, no qualifications, at 15. I’d come bottom of the class in several subjects. I’d gone from one job to another. I was seen as a drifter within my family, so now I wasn’t going to screw this up.

“If I was going to do this I was going to really do it, because this was the one thing from very young that I knew I was good at. And I’d kind of gone off the path, I’d tried to be like everyone else, I’d tried doing the things I thought I was supposed to do, that other people wanted me to do, and failed at all of them.

“So this meant everything to me really.

“Probably meant too much, you know?

“There it is.”

Kevin Rowland, 2014.

Centred on Dexys’ 2013 residency at London’s Duke Of York’s Theatre and the group’s One Day I’m Going To Soar album, Nowhere Is Home will premier in May.

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Feliz Navidad by El Vez + Christmas At The Airport by Nick Lowe

Dec 24th, 2013

elveznickHere’s an old and new Christmas favourite; hope they spread holiday cheer.

Feliz Navidad’s blending of the Mexican Christmas carol as popularised by José Feliciano with PiL’s Public Image never fails to please, bringing back happy memories of the UK leg of the Merry Mex-Mas dates in 2000 I helped organise for my dear friend Robert Lopez, aka El Vez, who wowed audiences with his Elvettes and the Memphis Mariachis. This footage is from that tour.

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Alan McGee’s Poptones released the accompanying album and the song on a limited edition 7in.

Meanwhile I’m adding Nick Lowe’s Christmas At The Airport to my list of hardy perennials; the video’s great and it was fabulous to see Nick at our Christmas drinks a couple of weeks back, fresh from yet another hit American tour.

It’s from his new album Quality Street which is as off-the-wall as you like.PRPCD114-620x621

Hope you enjoy both songs. Thanks for following my blog and Happy Holidays to you.

PG

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Junior Murvin: Memories

Dec 4th, 2013
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//My copy of the Tedious/Memories 12in//

Junior Murvin – who has died aged 67 – will forever be associated with the rebel cool of his 1976 Lee Perry-produced single Police & Thieves. Yesterday morning’s BBC Radio 4′s Today news programme displayed it’s trademark ham-fisted approach to pop culture when eagerly proclaiming the song his shining achievement by managing to misname Paul Simonon “Mick Jones” in an interview introduction and rushing to gush unconvincingly over an excerpt of The Clash’s version.

Personally, I favour another Lee Perry collaboration from the same period, the epic single B-side Memories.

I bought the UK 12inch mix on a shopping spree in a record shop tucked away in an Earl’s Court side street one late afternoon in 1977 on the recommendation of the shop assistant.

At 8mins 45secs, Memories is not only a sonic adventure to match the very best of 70s dub, but also a sweet, romantic song, the yearning, regretful theme over Perry’s bubbling cauldron of rhythms perfectly matched to Murvin’s falsetto whoop (I found Police & Thieves too preaching, which I guess is why it made sense for The Clash – always complaining about being told what to do, they tended towards dictating to their audience).

The flip, Tedious, is pretty good, as were other Black Ark explorations such as Closer Together, but nothing in my view in Murvin’s body of work touches the tenderness of Memories.

Remember him this way:

 

 

 

 

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James Last Orchestra takes on Silver Machine, Children Of The Revolution and School’s Out

Oct 21st, 2013

As a follow-up to yesterday’s Hawkwind post here’s the James Last Orchestra taking on the group’s big hit Silver Machine and segue-ing it into T.Rex’s Children Of The Revolution and Alice Cooper’s School’s Out.

Fun facts: Last’s nickname is “Hansi” (he was born Hans Last). He has sold more than 70 million records in his career.

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Flashback to Hawkwind + Pink Fairies at The Roundhouse 1975 as Nik Turner’s trademark claim sparks hostilities

Oct 18th, 2013

//Top: Stacia Blake weaving her magic onstage at The Roundhouse in 1975. Photo: Paul Apperley. Above: Peter Lavery's photo of Russell Hunter from the insert in the Pink Fairies' 1973 album Kings Of Oblivion. Posted on the Facebook Portobello Shuffle group by Ian Nottnotw Edmondson//

Sad to witness Hawkwind, the great British musical force which has carved out a unique position outside of the mainstream music business over several decades, dragged into a tawdry row regarding ownership of the group’s name.

The dispute has been sparked by  saxophonist/flautist/sometime frontman Nik Turner. It seems he is trademarking the group’s name as a touring entity in the US, even though he hasn’t been a member for a long time.

Turner was in the line-up during Hawkwind’s greatest period, 1970-76, and returned sporadically until a parting of the ways with Dave Brock, generally acknowledged as Hawkwind’s founder and the band’s one constant, at the helm for all 44 years of its existence.

If scans of signed US documents circulated online prove to be authentic, Turner’s registration in the US – where he has just toured under the banner Nik Turner’s Hawkwind – denies the existence of any other entity of that name operating in the field of live performance. This undercuts his claims in the American press that he wants to spread peace and harmony by invoking Hawkwind’s name and has enraged a section of the fan base.

Brock meanwhile has cancelled his Hawkwind’s American tour on the basis that he – at 72, a year younger than Turner – is suffering from a stress-related illness as result of the dispute.

//Barney Bubbles poster for Sunday bill at The Roundhouse, 1975//

//I went with my friend Matthew Cang. He kept his ticket//

This is all a long way from the relative harmony in the ranks when I fell under their spell as a teenager. I saw Hawkwind a few times, at the Edmonton Sundown or the Dagenham Roundhouse in north-east London and at a free festival in Harlow New Town, Essex, but one particular concert in February 1975 when the ensemble played Camden Town’s Roundhouse with the Pink Fairies stays in the memory.

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Jeremy Deller’s BBC film for All That Is Solid Melts Into Air

Oct 11th, 2013

Artist Jeremy Deller was commissioned to make a film by the BBC to coincide with the opening of his exhibition All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, a peroration on the consequences for Britain of the advent and aftermath of the Industrial Revolution.

The film underlines Deller’s deft application of juxtaposition. Eight year old primary school pupils read 19th century transcripts of workhouse children of the same age and former pop stars Jarvis Cocker and Noddy Holder and actress Maxine Peake intone from passages of contemporary Victorian reports on social conditions in their native locales (respectively Sheffield, the Black Country and Manchester).

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Jane Horrocks’ version of Joy Division’s Isolation to be followed by Hawkwind + Cabaret Voltaire covers

Oct 6th, 2013

//Photo: Dylan Vivian//

I’m particularly keen on Jane Horrocks’ recently released version of the Joy Division song Isolation; Horrocks’ vocal talents are widely recognised but I didn’t appreciate her feel for rock and post-punk until I saw her perform a storming Heart Of Glass at a party a couple of years back.

Rat Scabies was drumming that night and is on this Joy Division cover, which also features latterday PiL bassist Scott Firth and producer “Kipper”.

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Ssion: Like an earthquake

Jul 1st, 2013

Ssion were great at Birthdays last night: exciting and euphoric. Been smiling ever since.

Visit the Ssion site.

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