Jean Bennett Sings

UPDATE: March 2017 – Jean’s nephew David has posted a couple of comments, thanks to him for taking the time to comment and post her obituary, sadly she passed away in 2003. The mystery about the attire is also solved, thanks again for clearing that up!

I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “Who She?” The answer is, I don’t know. I just happened to be flicking through my records in order to catalogue them, and this one appeared…

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It was part of a bag of records given to me by a friend. As you can see, at some point during its life, it has been used as a chew toy by a mischeivous puppy, which means the vinyl really doesn’t fare much better. Due to its condition, and the fact I’ve never heard of Mrs Bennett, it almost went into the big green charity shop in the sky (aka, the wheelie bin), but something’s made me keep hold of it. There’s a mystery surrounding it. I can’t find anything about her. At all. A few places have this record for sale on the internets (no, I’m not on the lookout for a replacement copy), but there’s no information on the lady, at all. the record doesn’t have a date on either, so I’m not even sure how old she would be now. If she’s still alive, that is, which I hope.

Somewhere in this terrace of unassuming, yet incredibly expensive houses, is number 76, the registered address of Nevis Records. Doesn’t really look like the type of place to be churning out platinum discs by the skipload, but let me give you the spiel on the back of the record…

This album by Jean Bennett has been made in response to the many demands from her fans. It contains many of the songs for wich Jean is known so well.

Lancashire born and living in Blackpool, Jean’s popularity is nation wide.

The expert opinion of Nevis Records producer Jim McLean and the musical direction by Nicky Welsh has combined to make this a Jean Bennett Classic.

Right you are, then. I’ll take your “expert” word for it. Now, the stylus on my record deck is broken anyway, so I’m going to play myself a couple of tracks. I’m not too bothered if I hit a canine-induced crater. Track 1, “On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep” is a no-go. the teeth marks are too deep to even attempt it, so let’s start with Track 2, “Bless This House”…

One thing that strikes me straight away is that this record is badly manufactured. It’s off-centre, which means everything’s wobbling about, making it sound off-pitch.

I played that side to the end, and although not my cup of tea, it was acceptable. There are probably worse ones out there. Either way, I’d love to know what happened to old Jeano, and if there are any fans of hers still out there… and can anyone explain those clothes she’s wearing?

Here’s the track listing for this album…

A
1. ON MOTHER KELLY’S DOORSTEP
2. BLESS THIS HOUSE
3. MARTA
4. IF I WERE A RICH MAN
5. SUNSHINE OF YOUR SMILE
6. MATCHSTICK MEN

B
1. PEOPLE (WHO NEED PEOPLE)
2. WHAT I DID FOR LOVE
3. IT MUST BE HIM
4. LOVE IS ALL
5. SALLY
6. FOR ALL WE KNOW

UPDATE 4/2/2017 – 2016 imagery for the houses, couple of typos fixed

Music was my first love…

Judging from many of the posts on the site, you can’t fail to notice that I’m a bit of a collector when it comes to music. I’ve mentioned how it all began quite a few times. I was 11 years old. Daddykins came into possession of an old record player, and gave me a few old record to play on it. Really old records.

I obviously wanted something more “my style”. A fun day was held at the now-demolished Queens pub. One of the stalls was selling records. I bought one. It was “Secret Garden” by T’Pau. I also bought an album, but I won’t tell you what it was.

No siree, I will not mention, at all, that the first album I ever purchased was “Ten Good Reasons”, by Jason Donovan. No, I’ll never do that.

Anyway, since those fateful purchases, I have allowed my music collection to grow massively, to the point where it can barely be contained in the walls of Mercuryvapour Towers. Something I have always struggled with, is the ability to actually *tell* what I have, never mind know which tracks are on which CDs / albums / records.

I’ve made attempts in the past. Firstly, these were on paper, and pretty pointless, as I only had about 20 records. I probably did one on my Amiga, definitely did one on my old green screen 8086 PC, using Dbase III. I promptly forgot the password for the database, however.

My record collecting started to grow during the 1990s. I began to earn my own money, and promptly discovered the flea market and car boot sales. I collected a lot.

The internet was the “next big thing” when it came to my record / CD collecting. Ebay opened up new opportunities of “collecting”, and I’d often buy boxes of CDs / records, just to get a couple of songs I wanted. This may look like a false economy, but it really wasn’t. Every single time I bought a “batch”, there’d be CDs in there I didn’t know I wanted (as in, tracks I didn’t notice the name of), and ones I could resell to make the money back.

Someone in Italy paid £17.50 for a CD single I paid the equivalent of 20p for. Woooo, etc. I think I spent it on booze the very same night.

My collection grew, and it became clear I had no actual idea what I owned anymore. On 26th December 2005, I started the gallery. I took photos of every CD I could lay my hands on, uploaded them to the gallery, and added track listings. It was, however, just a gallery. It’s not designed to be a music collecting tool. Although it was functional, it was messy. I still have it online here, but its days are numbered.

OK, so I at least had a temporary way of cataloguing CDs, but what about records? By this time, I was in a similar situation with the vinyl. It was unorganized, and all over the place.

Whilst on jury duty in 2008, I set up plans for a database. There really was nothing better to do. I tapped my ideas into my phone, and within a few hours, had a working template for it. It’s still in use to this day, and looks a little something like this…

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Bigger picture on clicky-to-flickr, naturally. I didn’t realise I had that many Diana Ross singles either. Even I raised an eyebrow when I noticed that.

I’m 573 words into this, and I haven’t even explained why I’m telling you all this… I’ve started cataloguing it all again. In what could only be described as a moment of fever-induced insanity, I bought the “Music Collector Pro” software from collectorz. It has some useful features such as the ability to look up bar codes, cover scans and generate listings of what CDs and records you have. You can even run graphs on them…

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Of course, as you can see, this list is nowhere near complete. I have a stack of records to go through, as well as over 1000 7″ singles. I have no idea how it’s going to cope with that.

I’m also sure you’ll want to see the collection as it stands now. Here’s a HTML view of the collection as it stands. There are a number of empty images. I’ll correct these as time goes on.

I’m also sure that somewhere in Japan, Chad’s just lost the contents of his testicles after reading this utterly fascinating post.

Polydor 2384 107! I has it!

OK, I haven’t even started the blog, and I’ve already confused at least one of my viewers. What the hell is “Polydor 2384 107”, I hear you cry? You may remember a few months ago, I did one of my “Theme Music Appreciation” posts, where I reviewed a “BBC Themes” album I’d borrowed off Andy The Iridium Fan.

Some of the worst tracks came from another album entitled “Sixteen Small Screen Greats”, with the “Polydor 2384 107” catalogue number. I commented on how I’d like to get my hands on a copy just to hear the rest of the tracks… well, thanks to a case of finding a virtual needle in a haystack, I now have a copy right in front of me.

ATIF recently acquired a large collection of records and CDs, and I was invited over to Iridium Mansion to have a flick through and take what I wanted. The records were located in the attic, which was only partially lit. Now, for most people this would be a problem, but not for ATIF. He came upstairs to the attic, carrying a Phosco P678 streetight. It was plugged into the wall socket, and the CD/record browsing commenced…


The first photo contains streetlights, records, CDs, and a packet of Maynards Wine Gums. All this photo needs, is a pint of beer, a vindaloo and a pair of tits, and I’d had been in heaven.

Very quickly after a short flick through the CDs and records, I found that the original owner of the records and CDs was an avid theme music collector, which means that there was a lot of old 1980s TV theme vinyl in there, and some of them were brilliant. There was a load of the re-recorded variety, but several were the “genuine article”

Aside from the afore-mentioned Ronnie Hazelhurst LP, I pulled out a number of different albums, including “The TV Hits Album”, released on Towerbell Records, volumes 1 and 2. I had downloaded these particular albums (naughty naughty) as horribly compressed and scratched MP3s, so I knew the tracks included were genuine. The vinyl on these, as with all of the records, is mint, so I now have a copy of Su Pollard’s “Starting Together” to call my own… that is, if my record player’s stylus wasn’t running low on sharpness.

Speaking of Stylus, there was one of the theme albums released under the “Stylus” record label. I’ve had ‘bad’ records from this company in the past, where the tracks are either edited down, or re-recorded, so I wasn’t expecting much. I slapped it on the turntable, and played Track 1, the “Cagney And Lacey” theme. It’s a piece of music I like, but have never been able to track down the version used on the programme. I pressed play. The turntable sprang into life. The sax intro plays…. it sounds almost genuine. The main theme kicks in, and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. It’s the exact version used on the programme, even down to the seldom-noticed xylophone / glockenspiel / whatever percussion instrument it is, barely audible, 40 – 52 seconds into it. Any re-recording would have lost this entirely. There’s also the piano buried back there too, just like every good 80s TV theme.

Er, anyway. there is a reason why the C+L theme is almost impossible to track down on CD… it’s because it was recorded in mono, and it’s 1′ 15″ in length. Every version commercially available on CD is re-recorded, made longer and recorded in stereo. Don’t tamper with the classics, eh?

My plastic-browsing was brought to a temporary, yet abrupt halt, when the streetlight providing our illumination, suddenly went phut, and plunged the entire attic (and the rest of Iridium Mansion) into darkness, with the only illumination coming from the red-hot, yet slowly cooling arc tube. Within seconds, bellows of “ANDREW!” came from downstairs… Now, there could be a couple of things that caused the leccy in his house to trip. His parents seemed to think he was toying with something, but at the time I knew he wasn’t, he was sorting some photos at the time. My opinion wasn’t asked, so I kept out of it. Should it be needed in the future, when the lights went out, ATIF was looking at photos. I was looking at CDs, Neither of us were holding screwdrivers. Bit late now, but still, Awwwwkward.

For the first time ever, my phone came to the rescue. I thought its “flashlight” feature was a jokey gimmick. Honestly, it’s not. It’s not the brightest thing in the world, but my word, it’s worth its weight in LEDs.

The visit to ATIF’s ended as usual, with the obligatory photo of me holding a streetlight. This time, I went for the SOX variant of the GEC Z567x series…

Yes, I’m quite aware my hair needs cutting…

Music from the Thomas Cook advert

Wow, starting as I mean to go on, eh? This is my hundredth blog post so far this year… or at least it feels like it. anyway, this is a very quick update, mainly for my own benefit, but the music on the current Thomas Cook advert, with its wispy guitars, is “The Sea”, by Morcheeba.

I know it from something else, or at least I know that guitar riff. I probably have it on CD somewhere, I’ve bought a load of chillout albums over the years.

The humble art of the mixtape…

I’m sure that calling it a “mixtape” is some type of American colloquialism, therefore I feel slightly dirty using it on my blog, but sod it, that’s what I’m going to call it. Those of you around my age will remember these, and the joy they used to bring you.

You give a friend a C90, it returns several days later, filled with questionable music. It was like the Napster of the Nineties. Or the eMule of the Eighties. And possibly the WinMX of the Sev… wait, that one doesn’t really work.

Andy the Iridium Fan is someone who still embraces the analogue era, and likes nothing more than to slap on his walkman, and ride around the streets of Hartlepool listening to his compilations of C120s, entitled “Music for the Weekend”.

You may know that I’m currently borrowing it a tape recorder of his, in the vain hope of getting the majority of my decaying tapes onto some type of digital media. This is a job not for the faint hearted. In payback for the loan of the tape deck, he thrust a C120 tape into my hand and DEMANDED I fill it with shit. OK, a little bit of artistic license there, I just had to fill it. Now, for obvious reasons, such as I don’t particularly want to be sued, I can’t divulge the contents of the afore-mentioned tape (Dear Lawyers, for all you know, it’s actually 120 minutes of me gargling in the bath), but choosing the tracks to go on there was extremely difficult.

I started the tape about 6 weeks ago, and only finished it two days ago. What was odd, is the complicated procedure that some of the songs…. no, sorry, sounds of me gargling in the bath, went through… it would have started life on record, recorded via USB turntable, compressed to MP3, written to CDR, played on CD player, recorded onto tape…. in fact, this tape…

It did drive one thing home, how much I missed the whole “mixtape” idea. With archives of entire music catalogues at our disposal at the click of a mouse, it seems that a once fine art is dying out, replaced with faceless playlists, on third-party websites. I still have tapes recorded for me by Chad, and I’m sure I’ve blogged about them in the past. As much as I hate to say it, these were my greatest influence when it comes to music I listen to 20 years later. In 2nd place, are the tapes Daddykins used to get from the petrol station. In fact, I’m listening to “No Regrets” by The Walker Brothers, which I first heard on one of those tapes.

And, for those of you of a nosey disposition, here’s a little behind-the-scenes look of me taking the above photo, courtesy of ATIF…

Resting my camera on a mug half-full of tea. Quinticenstally British. For those who have been following, I named my tape “Music For the Weak End 1”. I have no idea if there’ll be a followup.

Does anyone know this song?

I don’t do this often, but I have another “unknown” song I’d like someone to name. This one’s different as I have the ENTIRE song, but have no idea what it’s called, or who it’s by.

Unknown song

I really don’t know much about this song, though I did actually buy it, or at least the magazine it was given away on. It came part of a free tape on the front of a music magazine from around 1989, possibly 1990. I can tell you I bought it from King Oswy shops, the original tape was black, and came in a slipcase. It may have featured “Inner City Mama” by Nenah Cherry on the tape too.

Not that it helps much.

Unfortunately, the original tape came from a manufacturer who made tapes that didn’t agree with my tape deck, and it probably got chewed up and binned. I certainly don’t have it anymore.

With the borrowment of Andrew’s cassette deck, I’ve been able to source one of my old C90s which had a copy of this song on it. Unfortunately, it was copied in high-speed mode, meaning the above track sounds tinny as hell. Just for old times sake, I’d like to know who it is and who by. Don’t bother googling the “lyrics”. “Blip Blipiddy Blop Bleep” doesn’t bring up any usefull results.

Feel free to comment / email. If it sounds familar, that’s great, but unless you’ve got a *really* good idea of who it is, then don’t! Also ,comments about my questionable taste in music, then, you know that already.

Hartlepool Dockfest 2009, Day 1.

So, going by my many postings there, you can hazard a guess that day 1 of the Hartlepool Dockfest is now complete. Time to write up a review, and post pictures wherever necessary.

I headed off to the Marina, slightly annoyed at losing one of the rubber earbuds for my phone’s headpiece. That wasn’t a good start to the day. It meant that on my strut from Mercuryvapour Towers, to the afore-mentioned Marina was spent only half-listening to the music. The other half was spent trying to keep the earpiece in without having my head tilted to one side. Grrr.

Eventually, I arrived, and had planned to meet Andrew there. I phoned his mobile to see where he was.

I rang…

“It’s me, where are you at?”

I got some crypic reply back, along the lines of “If you’re calling for my brother, he’s out”.

Eh?

Eventually, the call fizzled out. I must have been in a position where he couldn’t understand me, or didn’t think it was me. I moved location and rang back…

“It’s Jamie, I know you’re out, you asked me to ring you when… oh.”

It had currently dawned on me that instead of ringing Andrew’s mobile, I’d rang his house phone. It was indeed his brother that answered, who must sound very similar to him on the phone, which means that Andrew’s brother’s brother was indeed out, and awaiting a call on his mobile instead of the house phone, as he was not in, as described in the initial call answered by Andrew’s brother’s brother’s brother. If you see what I mean.

So, I eventually get in contact with Andrew, and we meet up at the Wingfield Castle. He had his camcorder, needless to say, I took my camera.

The first “treat” of the day was the “Community Cavalcade” Now, I didn’t really know what to expect from this. Turns out, I should have expected very little. Best way to describe it was a town-wide school play, with kids singing in between. Of course, I didn’t realise this, and thought it was the opening ceremony. WROOOONG.

I could have cried. We started queuing at 11:30, didn’t get in there until 12:21. For the 51 minutes, we were in the blazing sunshine. My sunburn is back with a vengence. I wish I’d actually read what it is we were queuing up to watch.

I only took interest in part of it, and that part was when the music CD malfunctioned.

Despite the relaxing shade of the large entertainment tent, we abandoned the “cavalcade”, and by chance happened tofind one piece of “street entertainment” from a guy called Turbo Jonez. As you can guess by my “heartening” description of the cavalcade, it should now be clear that I don’t have a cynical bone in my body, in the same way that I don’t have a sarcastic one.

OK, I’m sarcastic and cynical, but when I say that this guy was one of the best street acts I’ve ever seen in my numerous years visiting these “maritime festivals”, I really mean it…

It takes a lot for me to laugh at stuff like that, but this guy was awesome. After his show had finished, I even went up and shook his hand, and had a quick discussion about the records and equipment used in his act. An all round nice guy.

There was a performance immediately after, next to the Wingfield Castle, about punishment in the middle ages…

I think there’s one of those every week. At this point, one of Andrew’s camera batteries had died, so he headed off to a top-secret location to put the battery on charge. While he did that, I took some photoes of the Thundercats…

OK, I could have said speedboat, but I didn’t.

We walked back in the general direction of the tents, and happened to stumble across the “FoodFest” tent.

As well as containing an oven, this place also behaved like an oven. I was dismayed to find that the recipe he was cooking contained smoked fish. Ugh. Oddly, I stayed in my seat, without running out of the place like a screaming girl. Turns out all of the savoury dishes being prepared over the weekend actually contain fish.

The guy running the workshop also had to teach this recipe to a bunch of children at the same time, something which he CLEARLY had never had any experience with.

COnsider the following paragraph as “Citation needed”, as I can’t remember the exact order of events, but one of the little kiddywinks, asks if the thing he is cooking it on is “hot”. The chef replies “Yes, that’s why it says ‘Caution Hot Surface’, pointing to a sign laid flat on the table in front of the hotplates. Slight issue with that, is that the child was too small to see any sign laid flat on the table, or understand the words, and was only asking the question because the chef turned over something in the pan with his fingers. Oh, man. I hope Andrew got it on tape, but I doubt he did, so I may have made the entire last paragraph up.

We walked out of the cookery class, and decided that refreshments were in order. I ended up paying £1 for a bottle of water, followed by £2.50 for a tray of curry and chips.

We then watched a juggler with the worst sound system known to man, and then decided to head off to Navigation Point. This was to be my place of departure, as I wanted to go home for a bit or a rest before the music section started good and proper.

Daddykins picked me up, and I did certain tasks as take plenty of fluid on board, and examine my fucking sunburn in greater detail. Why is it, now, that when I was a kid, I could be out in the sun all hours of the day (well, yes, up until 6PM, Chad.), yet these days, my skin incinerates the second a bit of sun hits it? If that’s not evidence of a depleting ozone layer, I don’t know what is, or we may have just had shit summers in my childhood.

OK, back on topic.

I had arranged to meet Andrew again after I’d returned. By this time the weather had taken a turn for the worse. Cloud had spilled in from all directions, and by complete coincidence, Daddykins was heading off to the Marina by means of a taxi. I asked if I could jump in too. He answered affirmatively, and I’m glad he did, as the heavens opened whilst on the way there.

I got dropped off, and attempted to reach Andrew via the mobile airwaves. His phone was switched off. Bugger. Oh well, I was on my own for the night. No matter, but it would have been nice to not look like a Billy-no-mates all night.

The first couple of bands came on, and they were both… erm, “not my scene”, despite the fact I’d made my way to the front of the audience area, and now only had a 4-fit railing between me and whowever was performing. It was then, I came across a fear of dread, or maybe it was dehydration. I’d realised that if I was at the front, I’d be there for the long term. One of the bands finished, and the crowd dispersed slightly. I had to do it. I had to head to the bar. There were several reasons I was putting it off. Mainly the price. A “pint” of lager for £3.50

Of course, the reason why they charge through the nose for your beer, despite the fact you’ve been queuing up for 25 minutes before eventually receiving a plastic glass full of luke-warm piss, is that you’re receiving top-notch entertainment for nothing. If you’re thirsty, pay for it, like the freeloading whore that you are.

After queuing for 25 minutes before eventually receiving a plastic glass full of luke-warm piss, I head back to the front of the stage. Phew. There was still a little space. At this point, Andrew texted me saying that he also returned home for a bit, and will be there shortly.

He turned up in time to see the John Power Band. Now, I’d personally never heard of them. For some reason, I was expecting some type of large brass band number, thinking it would be a bit odd to but them on before the Lightining Seeds. Turns out, they weren’t. In fact they were another normal band. SOmething, somewhere mentioned that he was the lead singer out of “Cast”. My word, that was blast from the past, in a way.

It started off with several new tracks, or songs that were John Power Band only. Although enjoyable, it wasn’t something I was familiar with, or could enjoy, despite certain members of the female audience attempting to force themselves next to my perfectly reserved spot. Note to females, should you attempt to push your 4’10” frame into a space occupied by a 5’x” fat c*nt, you’re not going to succeed. It is likely that person will class it as the biggest sexual encounter he’s had for several months.

Something awesome happened during this. John Power announced that he was going to play some of his old stuff for the first time in years. Yes, all of the old Cast hits came out, including “Walkaway”… a song that is hard for me to explain. It’s one if the songs that made sense while I was going through puberty, but for no explicable reason, took no notice of it after that period.

I still knew every word, sang at the top of my voice, and for a short time, after the song finished, stood there shaking, as if some type of chemical bubble had burst in my brain… I’d never expected that I’d be singing that song, mere feet away from the person who brought it into my life in the first place.

Next up were The Lightning Seeds. Had my life been reaching up to this beautiful climax? You may remember my (clearly drunken) analysis of the song in 2004. I couldn’t imagine how good it would sound live.

Apparently, Hartlepool was their first gig for 10 years. They must have read my blog, and made sure they played on one of the nights I was off work. Thanks guys. Unfortunately, you might want to stop reading here…

… I thought it was, on the whole, awful. They really sounded like a band who had not practised together for 10 years, never mind just played a gig together

Technical difficulties marred everything they did, from squealing feedback, to whole guitars cutting out for no apparent reason, to the point where Ian Broudie closed his eyes and just realised that nothing was going his way. Many vocals were out of key.

If it really WAS ten years since the band last played together at a gig, I’m sure that the last thing they’d want to hear is constant chants of “It’s coming home, it’s coming home, football’s coming home” every time there’s a break between songs. Unfortunately, that particular fact wasn’t relayed to the audience by the “Real Radio” DJ who encouraged the audience to “ask” them for the song.

After several poor efforts by The “Seeds” to get audience participation, the finale was about to come. “The Life of Riley” was first. Unfortunately, this caused a crowd surge that caused anyone in the very front row (i.e. me) to be bounced around like a turd in one of those choppy up things for when you don’t have a real sewer line thing…

The finale, an all acoustic version of “Three Lions”, went down an absolute storm. As the crowd dispersed, the chant of “It’s coming home, it’s coming home, football’s coming home” grew ever more quieter. It’s one of those odd moments, like when the band James used to close their gigs to the chorus of “Sit Down”.

Unfortunately, after getting the front row, I realised (long after it was possible to make any difference) I have been included in many, many photos. Some I posed for, some I didn’t. No doubt I’ll be in the mail again. Whooppee…