2020. Oh. (Part 1 maybe)

“The year in review” is a post that I’d write annually, going through some of the highlights of the particular year that we’re about to leave behind, and maybe pick up on some of the highlights that weren’t covered by the blog. Many, many people would quite happily sit down and write this off as the worst year on record, me included, so just for fun, I’m going to go through this year with the palest rose-tinted spectacles imaginable, sift through the excrement and see if I can pick out a golden nugget of sweetcorn that makes me think, and you, my dear reader, that 2020 wasn’t all bad.

JANUARY

Yep, so there it is. Exactly midnight. I can confirm I brought in the new year filming my watch on my phone. I think this was about as rock and roll as it got. January 2nd saw our bin not getting emptied because someone had dumped a black sack into our recycling bin. But wait! January 3rd made me discover a culinary delight…

Roasties Butty Day… the day where I went to Fast Snacks for a chip butty, only to find out they didn’t have any chips. What? Turns out that roasties in a bun, plus a bit of curry sauce over them is actually pretty awesome. Sadly, I didn’t get a photo of them so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

January 11th saw a trip to Betterzade, the record shop in Northallerton. I think I managed to get there twice this year, maybe three times? Other shops were involved too, of course. And I couldn’t care how old I get, doing this is still funny, and always will be…

Turns out I was predicting the future there, and it turns out 2020 was an absolute BF H of a year.

January 18th appears to be the day I started playing Pokémon Go again, thanks to the new phone. This has genuinely been the only thing keeping me sane in the last 12 months. I didn’t realise it’d been that long.

January 25th saw one of only two music gigs in the entire year, at Newcastle for Insomnium. Really enjoyed this night. I think, by this time, rumours of the pandemic had just started to circle No concern at this point, obviously.

Insomnium, at the Riverside, Newcastle, 25th January 2020
Conjurer supporting.

FEBRUARY 2020

So far, my one and only trip to PLAY BREW in Middlesbrough, barring a brief stop during the easing of lockdown. A nice little “micro brewery” in the middle of an industrial estate in Middlesbrough.

This was a good night out, which ultimately ended in Loons, which is standard for a night out. Little did I know this was the only time I’d be in this establishment this year.

The weather was a little stormy around this time, with Storm Ciara whipping the sea up and keeping me awake. No sooner had Storm Ciara dissipated, Storm Dennis moved in.

Storm Dennis

I bought a motherboard from Jamie o allow me to upgrade the Mean Green Ripping machine. It’s not mean and it’s not green, but at least it’s got a new motherboard. I also stuck an SSD up its grundle, and it runs like an absolute dream. Its a shame that I’ve hardly had chance to use it. I typed this on 25th February…

In other news, the mean green ripping machine is complete. I might have to pick up a wireless dongle for it though as it’s a bit of a pain dragging that 15 metre cable through the house. Probably should have got one when I was at Falcon [Cmputers, in Sunderland], but then I didn’t know that the one I had for it was complete rot.

Talking about complete rot, my foot flared up again, Turns out there was another infection on it which required different antibiotics to what I’d had in the past

My foot wasn’t the only thing getting infected, as the “entire world” was starting to get infected with COVID-19. The news of this bloody virus spread throughout the world, and cases began to rise. It was clear that a lockdown was inevitable. Thankfully, this didn’t happen quite yet, and I was able to attend one final gig in Newcastle. It became clear, however, that having so many people in such a small area is something that was not going to happen anymore


The month ended with the only Hartlepool record fair, where I ended up smashing a record 30 seconds after getting it home. Unbelieveable. This was on the leap day.

It was a particularly windy day too as I found out to my cost too. I picked up a particularly cheesy single for 66p. I got it home, took it out the back to take a photo of it, and it blew off the wheely bin, blew across the garden and snapped in half on a chair. Wounded.

MARCH

Word had began to circulate that we might have to start working from home. It was only a rumour, however, and for at least, for the beginning of the month, the world continued as normal, except that the paranoia started to kick in, especially when on the bus. The sound of every cough and sneeze being amplified. The grime etched into the stop buttons becoming even more noticeable.

The most exciting time of the year so far happened when the fluorescent “circline” tube in the front room died. It became mercury starved… for environmental reasons, the amount of mercury vapour in fluorescent tubes has been reduced. Over time, the mercury vapour that is in the tube seeps into the glass, meaning that over time, there’s no ultraviolet light formed to excite the phosphor on the inside of the tube, meaning the tube essentially dies by lighting a very dull pink. This had happened over the period of a few weeks, until the light output “fell off a cliff” so I’d already ordered a new tube in preparation. Surprisingly the first time I’ve fitted one of those tubes.

March 7th saw the last day out before lockdown, as i got the bus to Durham. I discovered there was more than one record stall in the indoor market. This would be my last record purchase until the summer, which is just as well, as it contained The Krankies’ “Fan Dabi Dozi”.

March 17 saw the beginning of the end. Shops were starting to run out of the essentials… even Iceland had ran out of eggs.

March 18 was the last time I’d be in the office, and March 19 was my first full day working from home. Initially, I didn’t like it….

It’s pretty lonely sat here. I’ve had Talk Sport blasting for most of the day just for the sound of someone else’s voice. Daddykins was downstairs for most of the day, so I could at least say stuff to him, but even then, he’s buggered off upstairs, so I’m left with this laptop. I’m getting sick of talk sport, so I can’t even listen to it anymore.

And that’s where I’m going to leave Part 1. We’re deep into lockdown by this point, and I’m going to need to do some proper research if I’m going to pad it out enough for a Part 2…

EDIT: 2022. There was no part 2. 2020 never deserved one. And 2021 didn’t even deserve a part 1.

Day 8 – Now That’s What I Call Music! 20

So, apparently I took the whole of July off, but don’t worry, I’m still perservering with this! Maybe I’ll have the last two typed up by the time the lockdown officially ends… assuming this blog is still going in 2028.

Well, we’re still in 1991, folks. After all, these are albums that shaped my music tastes, so I guess they have to be early on in the collection.

Let’s fast-forward a few months to Xmas of that same year. This was the last truly great xmas, as it was the last one I had with my mam. Also, the pick of prezzies I got that year were pretty amazing. Santa’s sack really must have been bulging that year.

Two main presents in this particular year… a Commodore 64 (yes, I’m aware I arrived very late to that particular party!) and finally, a hi-fi I could call my own! Something a lot more modern than the ancient thing I’d been using earlier on in the year. Thanks to the wonderment of the internet, I managed to find an image of that exact same hifi.

I had to lift the image off Gumtree, so apologies if the seller ever finds this site, but as you can see, it was an Alba jobby. It’s meant to look like all the parts are separate, but they’re not, they’re all moulded into one front cover. The speakers (not pictured) were the same height as the unit, and connected at the back via 3.5mm jacks, and there were two phono jacks for an auxiliary input. These would become useful later on.

I absolutely adored this thing. It wasn’t without its quirks, however. It had a very basic remote, which allowed volume up / down, and I genuinely think that was it. Everything else featured manual moving parts. At some point during this hi-fi’s life, we switched over from incandescent light bulbs to the early compact fluorescents. The slight issue was that they gave off light at the same frequency as the volume up / down control, so you’d turn the light on, and the volume would go right down to none. Therefore, the remote sensor ended up with a sticker over it for most of its life.

Although the tuner says “digital” on it, it wasn’t. It was still an analogue dial, with the readout given on an LED display. It didn’t come with a CD player – that got added the following year. Maybe that’s a story for parts 9 or 10… who knows?

This was a hi-fi built at a cost, and obviously 30 years later, it really does show, but being able to play records and takes, and listen to the radio, was all that mattered to me.

This was the first of the “Now!” albums to use the familiar style of logo. At the time of typing, we’re into the Now 100’s, and they’re still using a version of this. The font changed when they broke the 100 barrier, but it’s essentially the same.

I could sit and write the list out of what tracks are on there, but there’s 40 of them. Instead, I’ll just pick out the real gems… or at least the ones I like. Music is subjective, so you might agree, you might not.

Let’s start off with Side 1, Track 1… “Dizzy” by Vic Reeves and the Wonderstuff. a perfect remake to me…. nothing like the original, and this was also one of my early 7″ singles, given to me by my aunty. I’m sure I mentioned in here before that Chad taped over the first 30 seconds of this with the “Grease” soundtrack. He doesn’t remember, but I do! Actually, this has just triggered a really weird memory I can’t have been in senior school long, and there was some type of assembly going on, probably doubling up as a talent show., with some of the older kids dancing around to this, complete with cardboard “washing machine” props. For some reason, I always remember these props hanging around in a store cupboard somewhere (probably where they kept the basketballs as the gym was right next door), long after they’d served their one and only purchase.

Er, onto “Pet Shop Boys – Where The Streets Have No Name (Can’t Take My Eyes Off You)”. At the time, I didn’t even know this was a remake, never mind a parody of a U2 song. I thought this was great, and still do. I recently bought the extended version of “Behaviour” which has the extended version of this on. Still a cracking, if slightly obscure and forgotten track these days.

“Love To Hate You” and “Sailing On the Seven Seas are both cracking tracks too.

“Something Got Me Started” by Simply Red is a song that was a grower. I hated it when I first heard it. Now, I quite like it. I don’t think it’d ever make my dream jukebox, but I wouldn’t change the channel if it came on the radio. “Let’s Talk About Sex”, on the other hand, is to me, one of the worst songs ever recorded. I’d jump out of a two-storey window if that ever came on the radio in my presence. OK, slight exaggeration, but I really dislike this song.

To this day, I’m surprised of the inclusion of “Gett Off” by Prince. Considering these albums are ained towards the younger audience, some of those lyrics are a bit… “close”, shall we say? I remember being fascinated by the fact they reversed the “big ass” portion of the lyric, so it just sounded weird.

“Get Ready For This” by 2 Unlimited was the standout track for me. this was the one I looked at on Christmas Morning, and went “YES!” Or so I presume. I guess this was the most played song on this side.

This side finished with Moby’s “Go”, and the amazing “It’s Grim Up North” by the band usually known as KLF. This would have been a perfect tune to finish this side on, as it fades to therelaxing sound of birdsong, but no, they stuck “Set Adrift on Memory Bliss” on the end of it. Not a great song, but I knew of this before I knew of “True” by Spandau Ballet, so my mind was blown when I realised it heavily used a sample.

Turn the tape over, and you’re onto song #6 before there’s anything that’s remotely worth typing about. “Too Many Walls” by Cathy Dennis. I liked this particular track, and it was my first experience of her music. She now writes songs for other people, having many more chart hits this way.

“This House” by Alison Moyet was a dreary, forgettable song, instantly followed by “Walking In Memphis” by Marc Cohn. Another song I’d never heard before playing it on here. Lovely, clear lyrics. Great piano playing. If you held a gun to my head, I’d blast this out on karaoke…… without hesitation. I did always wonder this, though… “The lyrics, “Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale” refers to Beale Street, an actual street in Memphis. Riley B. King became known as the “Beale Street Blues Boy” shortly after he first arrived in Memphis. Later, the nickname was shortened to B.B., and the rest is history.”. I’ll

Day 7 – Belinda Carlisle – Runaway Horses

Right, so we’ve had the first album purchased by myself, but that was 2nd hand, what about the first one I’d actually bought from a shop? Yes, that’s right! Step up “the 12 Commandments of Dance” by The London Boys! “Wait, what”, I hear you say… I thought this was going to be about Belinda Carlisle? Well.

Fast forward a few days later than the Jason Donovan LP, I ended up on a coach trip to Whitby. In fact, this was on Saturday 31st August 1991. I could explain how I know the date, but it’d bore you senseless… Well, if you’re reading this, you must be pretty bored, but you know what I mean.

Anyhoo, around this time, my interests were changing slightly. Up until this point, if we ever went anywhere, like for a holiday, I’d get a computer game as a memento. Earlier on in the year, Daddykins had brought a music centre home. He was a TV engineer, so I assume someone was either giving it away, or it was getting scrapped, or something. I have no idea of the model number or type, but it appeared in the Hogmanay episode of Still Game…

This was the week that my music collecting began, definitely for records anyway. I’d always had the equipment to play tapes, but these were always ones taped off the radio. It was time to get some original albums.

So, back to the trip. For the journey there and back, I’d taken my “walkman”. Personal stereo if you want to be pedantic. The trip, as always, involved a visit to Woolworths, but instead of a game for my Spectrum, I thought I’d treat myself to a music tape. As I mentioned, I’d picked up “The 12 Commandments of Dance”. Unfortunately, after getting the tape out of its box, it became clear there was a manufacturing defect. There was an extra pressure pad bouncing around inside the tape’s casing. For those who remember tapes, this is the metallic bit with a bit of foam or felt on it that would press the tape against the head. I didn’t think much of it, but as my dad rightly pointed out, having a loose bit of metal bouncing around inside would soon rip the tape to shreds, so off back to Woolies to exchange it.

It was the last copy they had. Bugger.

So, off back to the shelves. I wanted something that I’d heard of, and back then, with my tiny music knowledge, there weren’t too many I could choose from. I plumped for “Runaway Horses”. I knew the songs “Leave a Light on” and “We Want The Same Thing”, so at least there were two songs I liked…

Fate was on my side that day. I absolutely got the best one out of the two albums. The first track was “Leave a Light on”… Later in the day, I remember sitting in a pub courtyard, looking at one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. Still, to this day, I wonder what happened to her. Every time I hear that song, I’m transported back to that moment. It may have been The Pier Inn. So, if you were there on 31st August 1991, leave a comment. Or don’t, you’re probably old now.

So, yeah. I loved the album as soon as I heard it. I played side 1 mainly. “Leave A Light on”, “Summer Rain” and “La Luna” are still favourites to this day. The album ends with “Shades of Michaelangelo”, which unfortunately is my least favourite song on the album. Very slow and dreary, with an instrumental bit that really does out-stay it’s welcome.

A few years ago all of Belinda Carlisle’s early albums were remastered and expanded, in a booklet style case, with 2 discs and a DVD. Quite a few of the tracks are just the single versions of the songs, which are no different except they fade out early. There are a few other mixes, such as the acapella version of “La Luna”. Even after 30 years since its original release, the majority of the album still sounds good today.

I can’t conclude this without mentioning the London Boys album. I picked it up years later, and I absolutely hated it. “London Nights” is okay. So is “Requiem”. They get a spin every so often, but everything else on it is truly terrible. In fact, I gave my first copy away. A second copy turned up for 49p so I got it again, just for completeness.

I do wonder what path my music collection would have taken, if it weren’t for that faulty tape. Would I have hated the London Boys album back then? Would I have been so disappointed by it that it put me off buying albums? We will never know.

So, in conclusion, London Boys bad, Belinda Carlisle good.

Day 6 – Jason Donovan – Ten Good Reasons

This is it. This is where it all began. The first album I ever purchased, and yes, I’m totally ashamed to admit it.

Back in the late 80s and early 90s, starts from Neighbours were everywhere. You couldn’t put on one of the four TV channels we had at the time without seeing something about Kylie, Jason, and the rest of the crew. Pete Waterman decided to stick a couple of them in the recording studio, and stick their signature cheap-arse drum machines behind them. And bloody hell, they were popular, and a 9-year-old me actually quite liked them. “Too Many Broken Hearts” was a particular favourite,for reasons I still don’tunderstand.

While this isn’t strictly he first album I owned, it was the first one to be purchased with my own money. The year is 1991. The local pub (which is now a block of flats) hosted an “It’s a Knockout” style fun day on the summer bank holiday – it had a patch of land behind the back of it that was used. Don’t quite know why, as from memory is always seemed to be a few inches deep with broken glass and remnants of old cars, etc. On this particular day there was a record stall. Just someone randomly placed outside with a box of vinyl. I’ve mentioned many times during these about my lack of pocket money as a kid, but I had enough scraped together to pick up a couple of choice records. Obviously, this one, and two singles… “Secret Garden” by T’Pau” and “swing The Mood” by Jive Bunny. I know, I know. Don’t judge me.

I don’t think I had the LP for very long. I had a habit of destroying records that I didn’t like anymore. I gained great pleasure on sticking them onto a 60-watt light bulb and watching them turn to goopy mush. The Jive Bunny single suffered this fate. Amusingly, I must have frizbeed that Jive Bunny single into next door’s garden, as it turned up still in one piece about 10 years later when they cu the hedge down. I think it still played too… well, apart from the bit where I’d melted it.

Anyhoo, back to the album. I did find a copy in a charity shop a couple of years ago, but really, listening to it in 2020 makes you realise just how cheap the production is. I’d had hoped that the years had been good to it, and that not hearing it for at yeast 25 years may have brought back some rose-tinted memories, but no. It wasn’t good then, and it’s not good now. You can see why PWL were called “The Hit Factory”, because they churned these out by the dozen. So, this one isn’t great, and I wouldn’t recommend hunting it down, but to me it’s my first, and if I’m doing these, I might as well include it. If you really are interested, a “deluxe” 2-disc version was released in 2010 that has different remixes on, including instrumental versions. It’s going for obscene money on ebay and amazon, so if I saw it for £0.99 in a charity shop I’d pick it up

Now all of a sudden I have a craving for Darkmilk chocolate…

No track listing for this one either, as I don’t think I could sit through it again.

Day 5 – Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells II

Surprisingly, yet another entry that’s been influenced by long-time reader, and my far the most imaginative troll on this site, Chad. The year is 1992. I’d only been collecting records for just inder a year, so the name of Mike Oldfield was a bit unknown to me. The only music of his I was aware of, was his single “Moonlight shadow”.

“Sentinel” was the lead track on the album, which was released and remixed as a single. Around this time, Chad had picked up a copy of the afore-mentioned album on tape. I distincly remember its blue background, and yellow tube on the front. I only remember hearing the first track of the album, and was surpried to find out how differnt it was to the version released as a single. I think it was the first experience I’d had with an album version of a rack being different to the single version.

Sadly, around that time came the worst period of my life. and I remember, a few days after this particular thing happened, I went into Hit Parade on York Road, picked up the single version of “Sentinel”….. and “Tetris” by Dr. Spin. I’m guessing grief made me make some strange musical decisions that day.

At some point, I picked up the original Tubular Bells album. Admittedly, I wasn’t really a fan. I must have been about 14, and the two long passages of music didn’t really keep me entertained as much as, say, Pato Banton’s “Baby Come Back”, or whatever was in the charts back then. No idea what happened to the tape

Many, many years later, I found a 2nd hand copy of Tubular Bells 2. I was intrigued to hear what the full album sounded like, after only hearing the first track in its entirety. Needless to say, the fact that I’m writing this now proved just how much I liked the album. It was great. Much more polished, a lot less experimental. The two long passages of music still existed, as none of the tracks have gaps in between them (except, of course where you need to change sides).

There are some great hidden gems in there, and although a few singles came from the album, Sentinel was the only one that had any type of chart success – sentinel reached number 10, “Tattoo” reached 33, and “The Bell” reached 55.

“The Bell” is possibly my second favourite track on the album. Alan Rickman is featured as the “Master of Ceremonies”. though there are many different versions, with other people doing the role of the MC, such as Bully Connolly, MC Otto who is a German comedian. One version also has Vivian Stanshall reprising his role from the first LP. Unfortunately he wouldn’t be able to carry this role on in the third in the series, as he died in 1995. There were no MC tracks on the third album.

Interestingly, Alan Rickman isn’t credited on the album

I’m not going to do a track-by-track section as you really have to listen to the album in its entirety. Plus, they’re tedious as hell to type out

Day 2(ish): The Way It Is – Bruce Hornsby & The Range

OK, so this isn’t technically the second day, I didn’t post anything yesterday or the day before, but meh. Sit down, as this one’s a long one.

Once again, this is an album I’ve talked about quite a few times (I’ve probably mentioned the title track many, many times), but I’ve never gon through exactly why I like this album, and considering we’re in lockdown still, I might as well go through every single little detail of why I liked the title song so much… Strap in, this is going to be a long one (that’s what she said!)

Way back in 1986, Bruce Hornsby released his debut album, and the lead single was its title track, The Way It is. I can pinpoint the first time I ever heard the song. It was a Sunday morning and I was 6, we were going along Davison Drive, past Holy Trinity church. I remember hearing the piano section in the chorus, and not liking it. That was that, or so I thought. As the months went by, it became to be used a lot on TV, especially the instrumetal sections. Out of a song that’s 4 minutes and 58 seconds in length, a good three minutes of it is fully instrumental. Its most prominent use was showing the football league tables on Grandstand, where the instrumental section at the end of the song was looped. By this time, I was about 7 or 8, and began to like the song. In fact, I loved it. Obviously, the never mentioned its name.

Hartlepool hang on for dear life, as usual, while Bruce plinky-plonks on the background

At that age, I couldn’t ask anyone what it was called. Nobody knew what I was on about. It began to become an obsession. I still have vivid recollections of Saturday afternoons, the smell of roast pork wafting through the house, the big light blaring in the living room because it was winter and getting dark at 4:45.

I heard it ONCE on the radio around that time. Going down Warren Road. For some reason, I thought it was called “Run For The Hills” or something like that. Obviously, that’d be a dead end. then, back in Xmas 1989, I caught part of the song on tape. At this point, I didn’t know if it was the right song or now. It was a piano instrumental, but part of the middle bit. In fact, the sectrion from 2:40 – 2:49 if you’re playing along at home. I played this tape to within an inch of its life, still not knowing if that was the song or not. Sometime after this, I got to learn the titile, sadly I can’t remember how. I think some kid sang it and played the piano on “Going Live”. No footage of this exists on Youtube that I can see.

April 1991. BBC’s coverage of the Grand National used a full portion of the song! I always tape the Grand National, so the video was ready. I rushed over, pressed record, aaaand I’d accidentally recorded Tyne Tees instead of BBC1. I could have cried. In fact, I probably did. What should have been the runners and riders played to this tune resulted in 2 minutes of The Chart Show. Aaargh. Was I ever going to get a decent recording of the song?

Some time later in 1991, I caught, purely by chance, the first 15 seconds. It was being used by TFM to advertise their “200 best songs”, where listeners would vote for their best songs. I still didn’t know if this clip was “The Way It Is” or not, after never hearing the intro. It did sound really similar through. For some reason, this was printed in the local paper. There it was! I finally had the name and the artist! Which… I promptly forgot. I guess when I was 11, I thought my short term memory was better than it is, and within minutes I’d forgotten. Bugger. No idea why I didn’t think of keeping that piece of paper, or at least write it down somewhere.

So, I was back to square 1. A couple of years passed, and we’re in 1993. I wqas spending a sunny Saturday out in the car with my dad. He used to mend and deliver tellies, so I would often join him in his jaunts around the north east. I would listen to the radio while he would go in, and do what he needed to do with the telly. The radio was tuned to Atlantic 252. All of a sudden, the intro came on. Oh my god. Would this be it? The song played, and I must have lost about half a stone, dancing around in the van. Both sections I had on tape were from the song! I was over the moon. Unfortunately, they had a habit of playing a bunch of songs then never saying the title and artist, exactly what they did in this situation. At least I knew of a radio station that had a copy.

I would then listen to Atlantic 252 at every given opportunity. One day, my dad was off work so he picked me up from school at lunchtime. On goes Atlantic 252, and on comes the song! It was a short drive, so we get home, I burst through the door, run upstairs and manage to get the last minute or so on tape! YES! Again, no artist or title. Damn you, afore-mentioned radio station! This time, I had enough audio to play people to see if they knew it. As I mentioned, this was 1993. It was after my mam had died, and my nanna was still living with us. We had a home help called Trina, who I played the song to… “Yeah, it’s Bruce Hornsby & The Range”. FINALLY! After years of searching, I finally had the artists’ name. I’d heard it a couple of times on the radio after that, again on this same station. I managed to tape a slightly longer portion of the song, albeit with a deafening high-pitched tome over the top of it. Atlantic 252 was broadcast from Ireland (hence its name) on long wave, so you’d often get plenty of interference on there. Now, to track down a copy.

Summer 1993 came. We’d planned a family trip to the lakes. A friend called Steven was going to come too, but the night before he spewed up a load of jumbo sausage and chips, so unfortunately couldn’t make it. The day went ahead anwyay, and was a pretty standard day out. Me and my dad ended up in a shop that sold tapes. There it was, the holy grail. An actual real, no foolin’ copy of the tape. Unfortuanely, this was at the end of the day. My money had dried up. I asked my dad if he could buy it for me, and I’d pay him back with what little pocket money I’d earn over the following couple of weeks. He refused. He wouldn’t even put it on his card, saying he didn’t have enough money on it. I was devastated, and I left, having to put the tape back from whence it came. It literally felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. Something I’d wanted for most of my childhood was right in my hands, and it was being denied.

I’ll never know if Daddykins had enough money on his card or not. He probably won’t remember anything of the day, but this hurt me pretty bad.

Fast forward a few months. December 9th 1993. This was not long after my birthday, and I finally had some money to call my own. I remember going to the shooping centre. This was my first visit to the shopping centre after the glass roof had been installed, and how bright and shiny it all looked. I went to Woolworths, and browsed the tapes section. There it was! And I finally had my own money to pay for it. BANG! DONE! My long search was over. A stereo, uninterfered copy of my favourite song. Ibviously, there were other songs on the album, which I’ll get to shortly.

That’s pretty much it. On Decmber 27th 1994, I tracked down a copy of the track on CD, thanks to Dino Entertainment’s “Rock Anthems”. Track 5, disc 2. I always remember the advert played a section of a house burning over the song. I later learned that this was never in the video, so no idea where they dragged that up from.

Fire! Smoke filled rooms… oh, hang on, wrong song.

Obviously, I’ve picked up a CD copy of the album since then. In more recent times, it came back to prominence, thanks to 2Pac’s song “Changes”, which makes heavy use of Hornsby’s composition. Thanks to this resurgence, the song is no longer hard to track down, and is in every “classic hits” radio station’s playlist. For that reason, it doesn’t quite have the same impact to me that it once had, but I hope you found this interesting. Almost 1500 words in, and I haven’t even got the the actual album yet.

Here goes…

01. ON THE WESTERN SKYLINE
Interestingly, on all of the UK / European CD copies of this I’ve seen, has this titled as “On The Western Sklyline”. Even the re-released version with the 74321 catalogue number has this typo. The US pressings with the yellow back have the right spelling, so do all of the LP versions.

Anyway, it starts off with a country vibe. More fiddles than a [insert libellous joke here]. I like this one a lot more than I used to. Mentioned a streetlight. Gets a bonus point for that. Overall, a nice little song, even if it doesn’t seem to do anywhere.

02. EVERY LITTLE KISS
One of the songs off the album to be released as a single. This is the longest song on the album. It starts off with a piano intro very similar to “the Way It Is” According to Wikipedia, The introductory passage of the song quotes Charles Ives’s work “The Alcotts” (another wikipedia page says “Piano Sonata No 2” so fight amongst yourselves about which one is correct.

This was also the first song to be released as a single in the US, though it didn’t fare too well. It was released as a single over here too. The B side contains a different version of “The River Runs Low”… more on that later. The other track is an intrumental remix of “the Way It Is”. This also has piano instrumental sections, which are cut down for the 7″ single release. the 12″ has this full version on it. An instrumental version cann be found on the CD single of the next track, so with slightly different percussion, and about 20 seconds longer.

03. MANDOLIN RAIN
Arguably, Bruce’s second biggest hit, though it only reached 70 in the charts over here. Don’t mind it, but it does sort-of plod on a bit. The single version apparently checks in at just under 4 minutes long, and this one is just under 6.

04. THE LONG RACE
Another good, poppy little song. Guitar, accordion, drums… but no piano? The only song so far that doesn’t have a piano solo on it. Maybe on the entire album? Strange that all of the times I’ve listened to the album I’ve never noticed that before. And that’s side 1 complete, if you’re listening to the tape or album.

05. THE WAY IT IS
See above. I’m not going through all that again.

06. DOWN THE ROAD TONIGHT
Possibly my favourite song about going to see a prostitute ever (Sorry if you’ve turned of from a Google search for the phrase, you’re in for a disappointment). It’s “OK”, I guess, but a bit slow and doesn’t really go anywhere. If you play this song at 45PRM instead of 33RPM, it genuinely sounds much better. The exatra speed improves it immensely, and stops it feeling too “ploddy”. Features Huey Lewis on Harmonica and backing vocals

07. THE WILD FRONTIER
More of a country feel to this one, and a bassline that seems to get in the way quite a bit. I’m find it hard to find a track to skip with this album, but I’d probably have to go for this one, as it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the album. No piano in this one either. It sounds strangely disjointed.

08. THE RIVER RUNS LOW
The slowest track on the album, entirely piano, synth and vocal. It was never always like that, as the first pressing of the album has a different version on it, that has more of a beat to it. This alternate version is the one that’s featured on the B side to “every Little Kiss”. I can see why they re-recorded it though. Each album needs a slow ballady type track, and the original version doesn’t really do this.

09. THE RED PLAINS
Possibly my favourite song about someone’s house burning down. Or a wildfire. Not quite sure. If you flipped the “The Way It Is” single over, this is what you got. My second favourite track on the album by far. Probably the catchiest song and album Finished with a 90-second guitar and piano instrmental. A great way to close off the album.

Well, there we have it. This lockdown’s allowed me to dump more memories onto my blog. I’m pretty much burned out after three hours of typing, so I’m going to play some more pinball, and think of what to post tomorrow(ish). I’ve not really scanned it for typos either, so feel free to bombard the collents if you spot any. Ah, who am I kidding? Nobody’s read this far!

Day 4 – HariBoJo

Ugh. I’m really not liking this working from home lark. Fair enough, the sleep-ins are nice, and being able to get out of bed at 06:50 and be ready to sign on at 07:00 is a nice bonus. Of course, today didn’t work out like that, otherise I wouldn’t have mentioned. Cirtix required an update, and seeing as the laptop’s instruction manual was printed in Latin, it wasn’t going to be a quick procedure.

Eventually on it came, and the morning was pretty busy. I clearly can’t say much about what I did, that’s because I’ve forgotten most of it.

Lunchtime came, and instead of food, I thought an extra hour in bed would be ideal. A big mistake, and I woke up feeling worse. Food consisted of a frozen kebab in a pitta bread. Pretty disgusting, but it guarantees my daily intake of earholes, eyeholes and arseholes I suppose. Yum.

Later on in the afternoon, Daddykins went out to make sure the car was still functioning. It hadn’t left the leafy gravel driveway of Mercuryvapour Towers since Friday, especially since we had to sack the chauffeur thanks to social isolation. I joined him, because I wanted to see something other than the artexed walls of the kitchen. Technically this trip out is allowed, as I went into a shop in Blackhall to pick up some essentials. 8 cans of coke, a bag of Haribos, packet of beefy Space Raiders, and some apples to balance everything else out. The search for a fresh loaf of bread continues.

And this is where you see me now. I watched the local news. Lots of camera shots of deserted streets, and news reporters with extended microphones patronising the local residents. One woman was asked why herself and her husband were out. She said she didn’t know. Suppose if you don’t have a telly or the internet, you wouldn’t. And especially how we’ve been told to distance ourselves from other disgusting horrible filthy human beings.

Never fear, as the government have sent text messages to all of our phones. To be fair, if you’re out and about now, you’re not going to be taking any notice of this now, are you?

Myyyy Corona!

I don’t really have any need to leave the house at the moment anyway. The charity shops are closed, Maccy D’s has closed. I’ve let my Pokemon Go day streak lapse, so there’s not even any point of walking to any of the nearby pokestops.

So, tonight I’ve been playing records. And I’m quite aware that Days 3 and 4 have been posted within minutes of each other, but I doubt anyone is reading this tripe anyway. As you were!