My mate Dave is one of my oldest friends. When I moved to Japan, we lost touch for a while, but his lovely wife reconnected us, and for the last 5 or 6 years we’ve been exchanging mixtapes. Just like we did when we were 16, 17. Some of it “new”, recent discoveries. Some of it old. “Hey, do you remember this?” Me, being me, sending long rambling snail mail letters with the CDs, explaining my selections. Probably coming across as a complete nut.
In 2022, I didn’t manage to send anything. I think so much was changing. New jobs. Kids starting Uni. People moving out. I also had The Lizard’s wedding to prepare for… and recover from. I guess, looking back, I had quite a lot going on. Change to accommodate…
The mixes contain “proper” songs. Things that I played over and over. Things that I thought we might have been into 40 years ago. Dave’s genius was, and I’m sure still is, his inspired sense of fun. As a teen he’d bully me with his good-natured silliness, until I had no choice but to join in. Until I was silly too. He was so good to me. So good for me. So compiling the CDs was in part selfish and therapeutic, as they helped me plug back into the person I was when I was young. Who I, hopefully, am. Not exactly carefree, but positively inclined.
This January to catch up, and make amends I sent Dave 2 CDs. These are some of the songs that were on them… no Balearic Beats, no chillout, no promos… the other stuff…
It’ll probably come as no surprise that a lot of this music has its roots in the record boxes and lasting legacy of Andrew Weatherall. Andrew obviously had a unique ear for timeless songs that stand out, that resonate, but it also seems that pre-acid house, he, me and Dave were listening to similar things – `60s soul and garage rock sing-alongs, indie guitar bands and the obscure / outsider stuff that inspired / influenced them. So where to start? Alphabetically?
The Chi-Lites` Stoned Out Of My Mind is lifted from an infamous Christmas Kiss FM radio show, where Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie and Mr. Weatherall proceeded to get progressively hammered, quickly moving musically from house to Johnny Thunders.
Holland & Dozier`s Don’t Leave Me is another Weatherall soul-side. On his birthday, as I tribute, I pulled together a series of posts listing some of the soul, jazz and funk that he used to spin. Feedback from folks – of course – threw up another ton of tunes that I missed – of which this is one.*
Junior Parker’s cover of The Beatles` Tomorrow Never Knows is NOT as far as I know, a Weatherall favourite, but is instead taken from an Interview I did with DJ Paul Doherty – the unsung hero who manned the counter of London Balearic Beat record Store, Phuture, back in the early 1990s. The LP is impossible to find. My crackly 45 cost me an arm and leg.
Something else that cost me an arm and a leg was a copy of Ram & Sel’s Screw You – A big David Holmes “tip”. This was a birthday present to myself. It always blows my mind when I hear things as anarchic as this, that were recorded over 50 years ago.
Another interview that I did, with another unsung Balearic Beat “hero”, was with Roger “The Hippie” Beard – who was the resident DJ in the “alternative” room at Spectrum and Land Of Oz. Along with a lot of mid tempo pop, now considered to be classics, Roger would mix in his collection of psychedelic 7s. The Squires` Going All The Way is something that I thought Dave might like. Something that we might have played when we were 17.
Paul Haig`s Listen To Me and Joe Gideon & The Shark’s Anything That You Love… are both cribbed from Weatherall. The whole Joe Gideon album, Harum Scarum, is definitely worth anyone / everyone’s time. Silly, clever, raw, pure, and huge of heart.
The Blue Aeroplanes` Your Ages appears in Weatherall`s Black Notebooks, but I’m also pretty sure that it was something we used to have blaring out as we drove around in Dave’s Ford Escort – purple with a white “Starsky & Hutch” flash down the the side. It’s a blast of Bristolian beat poetry that captures youth, first love, and builds, more and more euphoric.
Waltzing through the memory palaces of Weatherall’s record collection, following his untimely passing, predictably brought me back to Primal Scream. Tracks that particularly turned me on over the last two years were the crunchy monitor mix – from their Memphis Sessions – of Call On Me (which always makes me think of Dave, and how his brilliant Buffoonery would drag me along for the ride), their cover of Townes Van Zandt`s To Live Is To Fly (better than the OG? Maybe?) and their damn fine impression of The Pistols, or perhaps The Clash, doing John Lennon`s Gimme Some Truth.
I included Townes` cover of The Stones` Dead Flowers, which I’m sure features on one or more of Weatherall’s countless mixes and playlists. Its also part of the Big Lebowksi soundtrack – a film that I watched again recently, and wowed again at how smart and funny it is. Kenny Rogers` I Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In is another song from the score that I can’t get enough of / am obsessed with. Captain Beefheart’s Her Eyes Are A Blue Million Miles is also on there. I have completely ODed on Netflix and Amazon Prime to the point that I can’t bear to watch any more and have started reading again.
Lennon`s I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama is there – which seemed unfortunately apt over the last 12 months. Justin and Leo at London’s Two Tribes Brewery hipped me to this one, when they sent me their remix. They also turned me on to The Monkees` Me & Magdalena, which is just beautiful.
The Stones are also present and correct. When Charlie Watts` passed away I wrote a long essay on Sympathy For The Devil, and dug out what might be the best recorded version of the song, from their album, Rock & Roll Circus. No Expectations – a clear influence on The Scream – is another highlight from the same LP.
Another of the many musicians that we lost was Mark Lanegan. Mark’s collaboration with Soulsavers, Revival, made it into Weatherall’s Black Notebooks, but on the flip of that 45 is Mark’s heartbreaking reading of Jackson C. Franks` Blues Run The Game. Given enormous weight with the knowledge of Mark’s considerable demons. A song, which if you listen to the lyrics, I’m sure you’ll understand has sometimes / often / always felt like a personal “anthem”.
Martin Duffy from Primal Scream, and Felt, also tragically left us just before Christmas. So Felt`s Down But Not Yet Out ends one of the CDs. It’s a rush that really reminds me of when we were young.
Martin also appears on a LP released last year by Sheertaft – now moved to Spain and going by just Sheer. Mr. Taft, he’s no longer making downtempo Balearic Beats, but Lee Hazlewood-influenced baritone ballads.
Surprisingly for me there are a few new, or things that were new. I know the website races through current “dance” and “chillout” releases, but I hardly ever get to hear any “fresh” pop or rock. Though my youngest son, Kojin, keeps me clued-up on J-Pop, K-Pop, and Japanese hip hop. Obviously the new things that I like echo old favourites. Like Suzanne Kraft doing his best Dinosaur Jr / My Bloody Valentine on Screenwriter, or Sylvie transported back to a `70s Laurel Canyon.
Cassandra Jenkins` Hard Drive perhaps has a bit of the Laurie Anderson’s in its poetic spoken narrative. For some reason this song always, and I mean always makes me cry. The part were she says “Take a breath and count with me…”, I`ll be on the school run sobbing. I`m not totally sure why, but maybe its about hurting and hoping / wishing someone would notice.
The Jazz Butcher, like Martin, is another Creation Records alumni who is sadly no longer with us. Never Give Up was recorded and released just before he died.
Marc Ribot roped in his old mucker Tom Waits for a remarkable English reading of the powerful “traditional” – it dates back to the 19th Century – Italian protest song, Bella Ciao. Ribot recorded a whole album of such songs – from around the globe – in response to Trump`s presidency. He`d have a whole lot more to protest against now.
Nico’s cover of The Velvet Underground’s I’m Waiting For The Man is there, simply because I love Nico, and I love the song. Apparently when she was in the band, Lou Reed would never let her sing it. Two decades later, having totally lived it, she owns it on this 1980s take.
During the lockdowns I listened to a load of reggae. I think for a couple of reasons – its rebel stance – I have a problem with all forms of authority (I was beaten as a child… it never did me any harm…) – and also because, except for the odd piece – it doesn’t really have any personal memories attached. I could listen to it, and feel recharged, ready to start a new day, ready stick it to The Man, and not be sent spinning, distracted down nostalgia’s self-indulgent alleyways. Wes Brooks` Lay Down Your Arms proved to be a tower of power, righteous resilience, and strength.
*Thank you Mark “Rude Audio” Ratcliff for the tip. Thank you Sharon “Shine PR” Andrews for the vinyl.
2 thoughts on “My Mate Dave”
Love this, Dave 💜
Dave is a diamond. He recognized that, in my heart, I`d love to be silly too.