Ian Canty, way back when, went under the psuedonym Terry McCann to record his contribution to the Son of Oi! album in 1983. His Part-Time Punk fanzine sold well in the early 2000s and he does the occasional internet radio broadcast for the Language of Sound. Currently laid up with a broken ankle he has plans to dominate the literary landscape with selections of short stories and a great novel. Until then I ask him to pick his Top Ten Favourite songs…
Over to Ian.
As always with these things this top 10 is just a snapshot and if you asked me on another day the Blue Orchids, the Creation, The Pretty Things, Lee Perry, ATV, Bogshed and BBC Radiophonic Workshop would be in there. But as at 10:05 am 16th February 2015 my top ten is…….
1. Searching For Mr Right – Young Marble Giants
This reminds me of hot summer evenings with nothing much to do, hoping that something would happen as the sunlight peters out for the day. Alison Statton’s voice is enough to make you fall in love with her on the spot and the backing is both slightly old fashioned and curiously modern at the same time. You feel she is just singing for you only and the sparseness of the back compliments it perfectly. But balls to sounding like a music critic, the performance and song is just so lovely.
Stuart Moxham, who wrote this, effortlessly creates a world out of just a few words. I saw them live a few years ago was an ambition fulfilled and of course they were wonderful.
2. Anarchy In The UK (Slow Version) – Sex Pistols
This comes from the Denmark Street demos and is often termed the “pub rock” version of “Anarchy” and I think that is why I like it. After all you probably wouldn’t have had punk without pub rock, at the very least the gig circuit of that scene was taken on by Punk. This establishes the link. They weren’t so far away from Eddie and The Hot Rods at this point really, which in retrospect isn’t a bad thing because the Hot Rods were and are fantastic.
I love how lazy it is, Rotten sounds half asleep. It’s how I imagine they sounded at the start of that hot summer of 1976 when they were starting to take off.
3. It’s Gonna Work Out Fine – Ike and Tina Turner
I’m not one much given to tears, but this song even makes me well up a bit, it’s quite a hopeful song too. Everything is great about it: the wobbly guitar line, the playfulness and the sheer force of nature that is Tina Turner. I’m a huge fan of bands like the Slits and the Raincoats but people have a tendency to say things like “before them most female singers were little more than ornamentation” which is rubbish when you consider Tina. She was tough! This was no delicate flower; she was out toe to toe with the male singers of the time and royally pasting them when Siouxsie was still in Viv Westwood nappies.
In a lot of ways it’s a shame most people only remember her for her richly deserved 80s success, because from the very early 60s to the 70s her output was incredible. You can feel the energy burning off it still, she was a real force of nature, but also approached things with a sense of humour. I think she’s retired now which is a pity but if anyone deserves a good rest and happy times it is Tina. A fantastic talent who deserves much more acclaim than she gets.
4. UK Sports Theme Medley – KPM All-Stars
Saw these old stagers a few years ago in Islington and they nearly blew the roof off the building with this. KPM were the music library responsible for the “Grandstand” theme and also one of the earliest pieces of music I can remember which was written by the dad of one of Level 42 (it was “Calefaction by David Lindup). People like Clem Clempson (ex-Bakerloo Line and Humble Pie), the mighty Alan Hawkshaw (the Hammond legend behind “The Countdown theme” and “The Champ” among many others) and Brian Bennett of the Shadows. These lads knew how to play!
The oafish compare of the evening insisted they played this medley again and even though they clearly though they had done their encore they dutifully complied and even got people pogoing!! To TV Sports themes!
5. Fur Immer – Neu!
I’ll be honest and admit I only heard of Neu! because of Julian Cope’s “Krautrocksampler” book and because of that I’m in his debt. Ok so a lot of it came directly out of Copey’s head but it is a hugely entertaining read and made me want to check out bands like Harmonia, Cluster and of course Neu! I interviewed Michael Rother for Part Time Punk a few years back, the man is a true gent. This makes me think of lush green fields flying past while driving through the country and service stations in foreign countries. Sounds emerge and disappear all the time but it still retains its motif all the way through. The drumming on this is simple but so effective. As a whole it’s very relaxing but has an edge. It’s not musical wallpaper, which is something it could have easily been in the wrong hands.
Neu! have been so influential over the past 15 years, but nothing that has come out of that could get near them. Nothing nears the greatness of their canon though.
6. Parallel Lines – Subway Sect
Could be any of a number of Vic Godard songs, but this is my favourite of the moment. It’s one of their more “punk” moments, from a Peel Session. The words sort of cascade out and the treble on the guitar is to die for (great to see Rob Simmons still pursuing this sound in the wonderful Fallen Leaves).
I know Vic is more than happy with his life as a postie but this bloke is one of our greatest ever songwriters for heaven’s sake! He’s consistently changed what he’s done over the years and has assembled a vast and tremendous body of work which if you haven’t already investigated, I urge you to.
7. Join The Rejects – Cockney Rejects
The Rejects were what Punk originally pretended to be but often wasn’t – which wouldn’t matter if their records were rubbish but they’re excellent. It feels so right juxtaposing the Rejects with the Subway Sect as they were coming from different wings of Punk, something on-one else would probably do, but both had great value to what they did.
This one is adapted from “Get Yourself Killed” by the Tickets which appeared on “Farewell To The Roxy” (the drummer of that band was in the Rejects for a bit). It sums up the true spirit of Punk as far as I’m concerned, wanting to “do a gig in our back garden”. Not what the Kings Road trendies wanted but truly DIY. I love Jeff Turner’s book as well, the man comes over as honest to a fault.
8. Mongoloid – Devo
I went on an ill-judged holiday in the sun once and am convinced this record saved my sanity if not my life. I felt like an alien there and these were alien sounds that suited my mood. Listening to this convinced me that I maybe had a point that this wasn’t paradise and although I was the odd one out there were other odd ones out there.
If only all bands put the kind of thought Devo did into what they do, we would all be a lot better off. De-evolution seems to have come true in 2015 don’t you think? Check a high street near you if you’re not sure.
9. Ian Dury and the Blockheads – Uneasy Sunny Day Hotsy Totsy
Everyone looks down a bit of “Do It Yourself” after “New Boots…” but for me it is at least its equal. Lots of great songs of course and the Blockheads are on top form. This one is my favourites. Of course Dury was one of the great lyricists but often it’s the way he says things rather than what he actually says. I mean “drink your booze” has nothing much to do with the rest of the song but the way he intones the line makes it crucial – a wonderful, slightly off-hand moment. He balances the filth and the poetic in perfect fashion.
10. Flipper – Ha Ha Ha
I first heard Flipper on the “Let Them Eat Jellybeans” compilation…there were lots of great bands on there like D.O.A, Black Flag, The Bad Brains, Circle Jerks, Really Red, but Flipper, partially because they were track one side one and partially because they are just so blooming stupendous, made the big impression on me.
I have to admit Flipper have become a bit of an obsession with me over the years. I saw them live once, they were incredible, but it didn’t look like they were even trying. Bruce the singer was just standing on the lip of the stage, super nonchalant and super sarky. They had the bloke from Nirvana playing bass that they took the piss out of constantly but he seemed happy with that to be fair.
“Sex Bomb” was their “biggie” but for me “Ha Ha Ha” is the one. It just rumbles along in a catchy but chaotic fashion, full of greasy sex imagery and suburban angst, poking fun while laughing at themselves for being a part of it too. It’s a film in the form of a two minute fifteen seconds song. They sound a bit like PIL here and there, but mostly never anything but Flipper, one of a kind.
Canty onstage 2014 photo by Adam Barnes
All Words Ian Canty. More writing by Ian on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.