MIND DE-CODER 12 (20-05-10)

MIND DE-CODER 12 (20-05-10)


MIND DE-CODER 12

(20-05-10)

“To rally every Black Sheep is my goal” (Julian Cope, 2008)

CAROL BATTON     POEM

I start the show with an untitled poem (as far as I know) by the poet Carol Batton who, depending on her mood/medication is, by all accounts,  either a winningly eccentric poetic genius, or a genuinely disturbed individual to be around. She lives in Manchester, England, and can be found wandering the streets distributing her poetry to passers by on sheets of photocopied A4 paper.  I follow it with a recording of a chant/mantra for the opening of the heart chakra. You can see what kind of show this is going to be.

VASHTI BUNYAN     I WANT TO BE ALONE

This is the best recording I’ve ever been able to find of the wistful I WANT TO BE ALONE by the lovely and fragile Vashti Bunyan. Released as the B-side to her debut single on Decca records, the Jagger/Richards penned Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind, this was her attempt at pop stardom, having been taken on by Andrew Loog Oldham. Unlike Marianne Faithful, she failed to crack the charts and the rest of her singles were doomed never to be released, until they found light of day on her collection of singles and demos from 1964-67 SOME THINGS JUST STICK IN YOUR MIND, released in 2008. It did, in the long term, though, lead to her magical JUST ANOTHER DIAMOND DAY , the album she would write and release 5 years later, so for that I can’t help but be grateful.

THE GO! TEAM     WILLOW’S SONG

I think I may have played this out before, for which I make no apologies – I think the Go! Team get this cover of Magnet’s Willow’s Song just right. Have I mentioned that this is possibly my favourite song of all time? It sounds lovely no matter who sings it – mind you, I do have a version by Doves that’s not entirely worth jumping up about. You can find this version on the bonus disc that accompanied their 2007 release PROOF OF YOUTH.

GORKY’S ZYGOTIC MYNCI     BETTER ROOMS

Haunting and woozy, this is from the album BARAFUNDLE, released in 1997 and probably my favourite Mynci’s release. The overall feel of the album is one of sublimely captivating psychedelic folk music played by someone coming up on magic mushrooms – it just opens up into a whole new world of melodies. Lovely album.l

SALAKO     THE QUEEN’S GOT A PRICE ON MY LIFE

Nobody does sad quite like Salako. This is from the VENTIMIGLIA EP, released in 1999. They were never going to change the face of rock music, but their mixture of whimsy and psychedelia was always going to appeal to me. I think I read somewhere that this song is about bees, not Her Majesty. Salako seem to have gone these days, and nobody knows where. Maybe they followed the bees – nobody seems to know where they’re all disappearing to nowdays either.

THE LEFT OUTSIDES     FALLEN BY THE WAYSIDE

Probably my favourite track on tonight’s show, the lovely Fallen By The Wayside by the irritatingly named The Left Outsides.  Their blend of dreamy psychedelic folk is not dissimilar to that of their previous band The Eighteenth Day Of May, which was more of a full on folk act by way of early Fairport Convention, whereas The Left Outsides seem to prefer the Syd Barrett side of things. None of this is to denigrate them – I love the wistfulness of this song, taken from their dbut album …AND COLOURS INBETWEEN, released in 2007.

JULIAN COPE     THESE THINGS I KNOW

Julian Cope’s insanely catchy These Things I Know from 2008’s epic call-to-arms, the BLACK SHEEP album. This is the album that features the Herman Melville quote: “Only the man who says ‘no’ is free”, and pictures Cope’s new band The Black Sheep looking like a cross between a gang of hells angels and a salvation army band, albeit a salvation army band that knows Hel was originally a pre-christian fertility Goddess.

SPIROGYRA     OLD BOOT WINE

Ah, here we go – this is fantastic; a haunting, eerie, hypnotic soundtrack to a vivid dream. Spirogyra were led by Martin Cockerham and featured Barbara Gaskin on vocals (she later went on to record It’s My Party with Dave Stewart in 1981, trivia fans). This track is taken from their final album, the luscious BELLS, BOOTS AND SHAMBLES, released in 1973. By all accounts it sold poorly, the world having possibly moved on from flowery psychedelic folk by then.

CURRENT 93     IDUMEA

Marc Almond is just one of many artists who contribute a version of Idumea, a short medieval hymnal, on the album BLACK SHIPS ATE THE SKY. The album is a mixture of plaintive acoustic guitar and string led poems that are almost hallucinatory in their delivery, and Marc Almond’s vocals make me shiver.

STEELEYE SPAN     THE BLACKSMITH

Steeleye Span were intended to be Ashley Hutchings’ more traditionally minded group after he quit the electrically-inclined fairport Convention. That’s Gay Woods on what I can only refer to as the lusty vocals – you can imagine her with a tankard of beer in each hand and a hearty word for the boys. Their only album, HARK! THE VILLAGE WAIT was recorded during a three-month stint in a Wiltshire cottage in 1970. The Blacksmith is about as traditional and rustic as you can get, but in 1971 Hutchings left to form the even more traditional Albion Band in 1971. I’ve always imagined the blacksmith in question as having a commendable set of mutton chops, myself.

TIM BUCKLEY     STARSAILOR

Etherial and weird. Possibly weirder than Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica. Tim Buckley’s STARSAILOR, released in 1971, confounded everyone with its highly experimental mix of menace and the avant garde. It’s certainly not to everyone’s taste, but the title track does just what it says on the label – it takes you to the stars, whilst at the same time guarantees that any guest that has overstayed their welcome will soon be leaving

DJ EARWORM     L’EAU DE ROSE

This evening’s only mash up, DJ Earworm mashes up Air’s J’ai Dormi Sous L’eau with Loius Armstrong’s La vie En rose to mesmerising effect, I think. You can find more DJ Earworm mash ups at http://djeaerworm.com/

GALAXY     DAY WITHOUT THE SUN

15 minutes of soaring spacerock from mysterious US stoner dudes Galaxy. DAY WITHOUT THE SUN is taken from the ultra-ra

re 1976  album of the same name. Be sure to listen out for the cosmic drum solo that takes up the middle five minutes. As one review I found of this track notes – it’s just shockingly heavy electric shit. This group were 20 years ahead of their time – I’m just not entirely sure when that time actually is, or indeed, was.

TEMPLE     LEAVES ARE FALLING/BLACK LIGHT

One of the obscurer krautrock bands to come out of Germany in the mid-70’s , Temple also released their eponymous album in 1976 showing there was definitely something in the air at the time. Anarchic astral spacerock – makes me wonder what punk thought it was sweeping away.

BERT JANSCH     ROSEMARY LANE

Still, too much spacerock can make your fillings ache, so let’s bring it all back down to earth with the brilliant Bert Jansch and lovely Rosemary Lane from the album ROSEMARY LANE, released in 1971. This is Bert going back to basics after Pentangle went their seperate ways. The album is simple and intimate, featuring Bert at his most beautifully poignant, playing songs that seem to come from the same place that myth and folklore come from.

BRIDGET ST. JOHN     ASK ME NO QUESTIONS

Sombre and beautiful, ASK ME NO QUESTIONS is an album of melancholy and reflection, sung by St. John in her deeply monotone voice that was not entirely dissimilar to Nico’s. John Peel produced the album and released it on his own Dandelion record label in 1969.  She’s not as immediately as captivating as Vashti Bunyan, say, but she sounds so perfectly poised and so deeply evocative of a pastoral  Englishness, I can smell the freshly ploughed fields from here.

And that was Mind De-Coder 12. I thank you.

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