29 December, 2006

Criminal Mastermind / Rainman

I've broken the law today and I've only been awake an hour. Yesterday I broke it about 20 times. I'm a recidivist.

Music download sites are, of course, evil and wrong but when the songs you want aren't readily available, or they're not available without having to spend £10 on nine other songs you don't want, they're the only option. I think my CD collection validates me to some extent; the music industry has had a lot of money from me in return for one song and I've supported iTunes as far as I can.

It's the mini-austist in me that fuels it all. I remember a song by an obscure 1980s artist and before you know it I'm rifling through their back catalogue. Have you heard Erasure's attempts at 'Video Killed the Radio Star', 'Rapture' or 'No GDM'? Do you want to? They're hard to find, but they're there nonetheless.

Then there was the sprint of Northern Soul, inspired by a short article in Mojo about Tami Lynn's 'I'm Gonna Run Away from You', a song that now features on compilation CDs I do for friends. And possibly the most Aspergers thing I've done in my life was deciding to find a copy of every UK Number One song ever. I spent a lot of time going trhogh my own CDs and buying individual songs from iTunes, which is fine when you're covering the 1960s but a bit soul-sapping when you're wading through more and more R 'unt' B crap. I resent spending money to fund the careers of Jay Z and Fiddy Cent, so sod 'im.

It's not all crimes and misdemeanours though. My search for The Associates' 'Club Country' led me to discover their gorgeous 'Take Me to the Girl' and the haunting 'Breakfast' and before you could sing 'I had a shower, then phoned my brother up / within the hour, I'll smash another cup' I'd ordered the complete Associates albums from Amazon.co.uk. New CD reissues with additional bonus tracks like their cover of David Bowie's 'Boys Keep Swinging' and their cheeky version of 'Heart of Glass' (another song that Erasure had a go at too).

Here are just a few other tracks I wouldn't have had it not been for the joys of the download:

  • 'London Girls' by Chas and Dave

  • 'The Man With The Child In His Eyes' by Hue and Cry

  • 'Be There' by Clive Griffin (who sang the 'finger of fudge' jingle when he was a kid!)

  • 'John Wayne Is Big Leggy' by Haysi Fantayzee (I already had 'Shiny Shiny')

  • 'Love Lies Lost' by Culture Club's Helen Terry

  • The full song from the theme to The Littlest Hobo

  • Nancy Sinatra's cover of the Beatles' 'Run for Your Life' (almost as good as her version of 'Day Tripper'

  • 'Cool Meditation' by Third World (who did 'Now That We Found Love')

  • 'Timeless Melody' by the La's (which made me buy the whole album

  • Blacklight (featuring Technoir)'s dance version of Killing Joke's 'Love Like Blood'

  • 'I've Been Wrong Before' - Cilla Black's greatest song, courtesy of George Martin

  • 'Michelangelo' by 23rd Turn-Off, another of the songs recommended in Paul Du Noyer's study of Liverpool music, Wondrous Place.

  • 'Machinery' by Sheena Easton

  • 'Twilight Cafe' by Susan Fassbender

  • ... and about five different versions of Barclay James Harvest's 'Mockingbird' recorded across 30 years

  • Every time I go to a certain Vauxhall-based club night, I tap song titles into my phone to look up later and it's been a useful way of discovering old songs I never knew and rediscovering songs I've forgotten. 'The Celtic Soul Brothers' by Dexy's Midnight Runners would have certainly slipped away otherwise - and 'Saturdays' by De La Soul, which uses a sample from Jackie Wilson's Northern Soul version of the Doors' 'Light My Fire', also covered by Will Young, Jose Feliciano and Amii Stewart - who also did Eddie Floyd's 'Knock on Wood'.

    Is it just a fascination for extended degrees of fascination, or should I see a doctor?

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