Say what you want about Everett True, but you ever cover a song with Nirvana?
THIS WEEK: Perfect Unpop
I received a pamphlet in the post yesterday morning from prime agent provocateur Bill Drummond. In it, he announced his intention to write a book in precisely a year, the book to articulate his vision of ‘future music’ (my quotes, not his)—a time when music and the means to create music has been entirely forgotten, but people still have an urge to create sound, only with pure voice. He’s been hearing these voices in his head for a while now, a choir: and he wants to give some form to their beauty. Written form, I guess.
The former Number One UK hit-maker feels that the means to produce music is so ubiquitous it’s stifling music’s creativity. For a few years now, he’s been holding an annual No Music Day, wherein the participants actively avoid all recorded music. Amen to that, brother. I’ve long since ceased watching TV, listening to the radio…long since preferred performing a cappella on stage myself to virtually any other musical form. The moment matters, not the documentation of that music. Folk are way too concerned with the documentation.
I note this as a preamble to what was going to be a review of an excellent archival project—yet another from Britain’s Cherry Red Records, original home of the ground-breaking Pillows And Prayers (the budget-priced early Eighties compilation that redefined the shape of the independent charts, helped pave the way for Creation Records and The Smiths and codified the word ‘indie’ into a musical description). The CD in question is called Perfect Unpop (the name intended as a slight nod in the direction of Plan B’s David McNamee, who used the word to help delineate certain forms of Outsider Music?; or perhaps to former Tangents online editor Alistair Fitchett, who launched his own Unpopular Records CD-r imprint, original home of The Pipettes).
It’s absolutely my era (1977-1980)—put together by a former John Peel devotee in tribute to the still much-missed Radio One stalwart, and boasting contributions from a whole array of scrappily-recorded power-pop/punk-heads (Eater, The Outcasts’ bittersweet “Self-Conscious Over You,” The Vibrators, The Bears, The 45s, former Ramones support The Boys) plus any number of jaw-loosening gems that have long been cornerstones of my seven-inch collection (Young Marble Giants’ “Final Day” of course, primal Swiss girl-punks Kleenex’ deadpan “Hedi’s Head,” Wreckless Eric’s singularly charming and desperate “Whole Wide World,” Subway Sect’s achingly literate “Ambition,” proto Bristol dance-heads Gla*o Babies’ chillingly paranoid “This Is Your Life,” laconic Brummies The Prefects’ plain spiteful “Going Through The Motions,” post-Fall spearheads Blue Orchids’ fulsome “The Flood”…). And so on.
It’s a lovingly compiled collection, with excellent personalised sleeve-notes all paying tribute to Peelie and his esoteric, not to say sometimes random tastes and enthusiasm, and evoking my own personal era (the good, the bad and the plain boring) with some panache. But, oddly, I’m finding it near impossible to enjoy. Perhaps it’s the lack of crackle and radio whine. Perhaps it’s the fact I don’t need to rise every three minutes and switch over. Perhaps it’s cos it’s ready-sorted. Or maybe it’s the sheer tiredness of being a parent, doesn’t allow for enthusiasm to take precedence every time I switch the amplifier to ON.
But right now, I am yearning for this year’s annual No Music Day.
And this is the Music I Love!
Hugs And Kisses Top 5
Songs That Everett True Intends To Cover One Day—No Instruments
1. Amy Winehouse, “Back To Black”
I nearly covered this first time I heard it (last Christmas), should’ve done: songs are better redefined fresh. Think I may stumble over the recognition factor. (People will think it’s a joke, unless it’s superb.)
2. Razorcuts, “Sorry To Embarrass You”
I can’t help think it might miss those jangling guitars, though.
3. The Inkspots, “You Always Hurt The One You Love”
I’m a little tentative here, cos I kinda got typecast last time I covered an Inkspots song (“Do Nuts”—go check your YouTube). But, this is open to so many interpretations…
4. The Zombies, “Time Of The Season”
I would’ve done this two decades ago, almost: but was scared off by an incredible live version by Olympia singer Lois Maffeo. Surely my time is due soon.
5. Kelis, “Bossy”
See comments on “Back To Black” above, and underline in triplicate in thick red ink.