For The Record – ‘Sixteen Tons’

January 20, 1956 – the number one song across the land was ‘Sixteen Tons’ by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

The little tune about a coal miner spent ten weeks at the top of the Country charts before making its way into the mainstream, where it spent another eight weeks at the top of the Pop charts.  The song was originally written and recorded ten years earlier by Merle Travis in 1946, but Ford’s version became the definitive one.

Since then, ‘Sixteen Tons’ has been covered by more than 20 different artists, including Rock versions, Soul versions, Spanish versions, Punk versions, and a cappella versions.  The Clash borrowed the song, and played it as the introduction to all of their shows on ‘The 16 Tons Tour’ in 1980.  Currently, the song is featured in the Broadway play ‘Million Dollar Quartet’.

Ford continued recording steadily for another 20 years, and enjoyed substantial success, but he was never able to match the level of his signature song again.  Although, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1990 for his lifetime contributions to music.

For The Record – ‘Relax’

What do you get when you release your debut single that contains racy lyrics and an overtly sexual record sleeve? If you are Frankie Goes To Hollywood, you get banned by the BBC!

‘Relax’ was released in October of 1983, enjoying moderate sales and radio airplay. Then, an appearance on Top Of The Pops in January of 1984 lifted sales of the single. One week later, the song was being played on Radio 1, when the DJ spotted the cover and really listened to the lyrics. He was disgusted. He allegedly stopped the song, while playing it on air, and called it ‘obscene’. Two days later, on January 13, the BBC imposed a ban on the record that helped shoot it straight to Number One in the UK charts. It stayed there for five weeks, sold nearly two million copies, and became one of the top ten best-selling records in the history of the UK Singles chart.

The dust had barely even settled from ‘Relax’, when Frankie came roaring back with their second single, ‘Two Tribes’ in May. The song went straight to Number One, and sold nearly 1.5 million copies.

As if that wasn’t enough success, FGTH released ‘The Power Of Love’, their third single from the album ‘Welcome To The Pleasuredome’, at the end of 1984. For the third time in less than one year, they earned the Number One spot in the charts, making them the first band to achieve chart-topping success with their first three singles, since Gerry & The Pacemakers did it in 1963.

Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there, and the band quickly disappeared from the limelight. Internal tensions, disillusionment, and the failure to equal their initial success led to the break-up of the band in 1986. Their music lives on though, and so does their T-shirt collection, which includes ‘Frankie Say Relax’ and ‘Frankie Say War Hide Yourself’…

Number Ones, January 6th

The Good: ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ by The Beatles

This album is the very successful soundtrack to the very unsuccessful made-for TV movie shown on the BBC, during Christmas holidays in 1967. The Fab Four still managed to push the boundaries, by releasing two separate EPs in the UK (unheard of at that time) for the six new songs in the film. In the States, an album was released with the six new songs on Side A, and a collection of non-album singles on Side B. Both versions went to Number 1 in the charts.

The Bad: ‘Blue Hawaii’ by Elvis Presley

This album was the soundtrack to the first of three films that Elvis made in Hawaii, which contained all the elements that made his films so popular – beautiful locations, gorgeous girls, mediocre songs and terrible plots. In the words of (Elvis’ character) Chad Gates, “I like my job, it’s fun, it’s interesting and I meet a lot of nice people”.

The Ugly: ‘YMCA’ by The Village People

Incredibly, ‘YMCA’ is one of less than 30 songs to be released as a single, and sell more than 10 million copies world-wide. Unfortunately, the song survives to this day by being played at hundreds of sporting events across the States during breaks in the action.

2010 Crackin’ Countdown

A long time ago in a magical little island across the Atlantic Sea, six or seven lads sat around a table in the local pub supping on pints of Guinness and discussing the highlights of the previous 12 months.  After much banter and debate, one of them suggested that each person create a list of their favourite albums, songs, films and books of the year.  Thus, the Crackin’ Countdown was born and the tradition still lives on today.  So, I now give you my round-up of the best bits from 2010…


Barking  // Underworld
One of my favourite bands returns to form with an album that features all the relevant ‘heads’ across the entire spectrum of Dance music, resulting in an eclectic collection of pimped-out tunes that keep them in pace with the best electronic music out there.

Before Today // Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
The lo-fi-ness in the recordings give the disc enormous amounts of charm and his broad influences like 10CC, David Bowie, The Cure, Hall & Oates, Human League, Husker Du, John Lennon and Roxy Music make the kooky, lo-fi, odd-ball, all-over-the-shop sounds work perfectly.

Come Around Sundown // Kings Of Leon
I’ve been a fan since Day 1 and I like that they are still trying to be different.  Singing words that you can finally understand, they have even begun to display some of their roots and influences.

Contra // Vampire Weekend
These guys are the coolest band of Paul Simon-loving geeks that  you will ever hear and every song they sing makes me think of summer time.

Crazy For You // Best Coast
This band is great.  You only have to do the math to realize that.  The Go-Go’s + buzzy, fuzzy, scuzzy guitars = Best Coast.

Plastic Beach // Gorillaz
Mr. Albarn with the help of more musicians than you can shake a stick at deliver an eclectic, no-two-tracks-are-alike album that may require a couple of plays to understand but never ceases to amaze and satisfy.

The Drums // The Drums
New York Post-Punk?  Yes.  Reminiscent of the early Cure?  Definitely!  One of the boppy-est, catchy-est, hooky-est bands you will ever hear?  Absolutely!

The Noyelle Beat // Standard Fare
This Sheffield power trio recorded their debut album in only six days and have enough indie aesthetic, with equal parts of energy and melancholy, that I’m sure John Peel is listening and smiling from the great studio beyond…

This Is Happening // LCD Soundsystem
Mr. James and companies third, and apparently last, installment in the rebirth of Punk-Funk, No-Wave, Electro-Dance music that sounds like it was recorded in 1981.

Tourist History // Two Door Cinema Club
The undeniably Pop-sounding Northern Irish trio blast through the speakers with a wide variety of sounds and styles that have one thing in common – every song is short, sharp and sweet.  Outstanding.

*The one that got away (so far)…

Allo Darlin’ // Allo Darlin’
I have been unable to track this album down yet but you can be sure that it will be added to my collection ASAP.

2010 was a year of old favourites and ‘classics’ with the standout book being ‘On The Road’ by Jack Kerouac, which I read during our little road trip across the southern part of the States in January.
Animal Farm – George Orwell
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
I, Robot – Isaac Asimov
Lord Of The Flies – William Golding
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Once A Runner – John L. Parker
The Catcher In The Rye – JD Salinger
The Old Man And The Sea – Ernest Hemingway
The Strange Case Of Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway

There is only one DVD added to my list this year – a collection of my favourite TV show paying homage to (taking the piss out of) my favourite films.  Hopefully, I began a new tradition by watching all three episodes on Christmas Day.
Laugh It Up Fuzzball: The Family Guy Star Wars Trilogy

Alice In Wonderland
Get Him To The Greek
Iron Man 2
Shutter Island
The Kids Are Alright
The Social Network
The Wolfman

I’ll start by saying that I really miss the following things:
Anything cooked/prepared in Hotel Olive
Most of the food from Marks & Spencer
Irish sausages
Going out to eat on a regular basis
However, I’ve managed to somewhat compensate those losses with the following:
Anything cooked/prepared by Zoe
Some of the food from Food Pantry
Kirin Ichiban
Staying in to eat on a regular basis, since a) staying in is supposedly the new going out  and b) we don’t really have a choice

2010 has been a difficult year to say the least.  Zoe and I are away from our families and friends, Hawaii has not turned out to be anything even remotely close to paradise, and we have struggled more financially than ever before.  But there has also been a lot of good things and here are some of them:
Driving across the States with Zoe on the way to our new life in Hawaii
Getting married in the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas
Watching our first sunset in Waikiki
Turning 40
Running a sub-20 minute 5K
Helping Zoe obtain her American residency in record time
Finding out that Zoe was offered her first FT job in America
Getting an iPad for Christmas

Soul Kitchen 06 – The ‘Scribble’ Mix

Flying on a diet of re-cycled breath, watching cities shrink, the sky wraps around us.  Leave letters of love and devotion, disconnect some basic emotion and jump to the groove, pumped up strobes and smoke.  Dance in to the dark but don’t cross the white line, it’s a long way down on the other side.
                                                                                          -Karl Hyde via Facebook
                                                                                            October 2010

And now for our next number…

01. Riders On The Storm ~ DJ Disse
02. City Streets (Kerri Chandler’s ‘Kaoz On City Streets’ Mix) ~ Basil
03. Session One ~ Toka Project
04. Go (Woodtick Mix) ~ Moby
05. Scribble ~ Underworld
06. LOVE Beats ~ Jazzanova
07. Scratched ~ Etienne De Crecy
08. Never Too Late ~ Ms. Victoria Barnes
09. I Just Dropped In To See What Conditon My Condition Was In ~
      Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
10. Phoenix ~ Aquarian Dream
11. The E Street Shuffle ~ Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
12. Day Tripper ~ Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66

Bonus Tracks:
13. This Is The Life ~ Two Door Cinema Club
14. Under Cover Martyn ~ Two Door Cinema Club

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Soul Kitchen 05 – The ‘Pow Pow’ Mix


From this position, I will listen
From this position, I can hear the whole mix

So it goes…

01:: You’re Mine (2 Under Pax Mix) ** Aquatherium
02:: Blame ** Inland Knights
03:: Pow Pow ** LCD Soundsystem
04:: The Beat ** ESG
05:: All Of The Above ** Mixtapes & Cellmates
06:: Short Skirt / Long Jacket ** Cake
07:: Sweet Disposition ** The Tender Trap
08:: Need You Tonight / Mediate ** INXS
09:: Catch Me I’m Falling ** Real Life
10:: Ain’t That Peculiar ** The George Benson Quintet
11:: Here Come The Girls ** Ernie K Doe
12:: I’m A King Bee ** The Rolling Stones
13:: I’ll Be Oh So Good ** Velma Cross & Her High Steppers
14:: Babo ** Johnny Lytle
15:: Fashion Parade (Instrumental Version) ** Misty’s Big Adventure
16:: Again ** Night People
17:: Why Must Our Eyes Always Be Turned Backwards ** Lou Bond

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Thank Funk It’s Friday – 2010.10.29

The ‘Evil Of The Thriller’ Mix

Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize y’alls neighborhood

And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the Thriller

01:  Thriller   X   Michael Jackson
02:  The Witch (The Bamboos Version)   X   The Broken Keys
03:  Somebody’s Watching Me   X   Rockwell ft Michael Jackson
04:  Halloween (Main Theme)   X   John Carpenter
05:  ‘Thriller Rap’   X   Vincent Price

Spooky Choons

I heard – with shut eyes but acute hearing – I heard the eerie music. I heard the chilling sounds of a DJ mixing, and then, on the working of a powerful engine, heard signs of notes and stirring with uneasy beats, cautious blending. Frightful, must it be, for supremely frightful would be the effect of any DJ endeavor to rock the stupendous mechanism of the creator of such a mix.

01. Ghost Town *|* The Specials
02. Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) *|* David Bowie
03. Straight To Hell *|* The Clash
04. Dead Man’s Party *|* Oingo Boingo
05. The Blood *|* The Cure
06. Dead *|* Pixies
07. Scooby Doo *|* Hoyt Curtain & Singers
08. Evil Ways *|* Willie Bobo
09. Bad Moon Rising *|* Credence Clearwater Revival
10. Boris The Spider *|* The Who
11. Frankenstein *|* Edgar Winter Group
12. Runnin’ With The Devil *|* Van Halen
13. Highway To Hell *|* AC/DC
14. The Addams Family *|* Vic Mizzy
15. Hell *|* James Brown
16. I Put A Spell On You *|* Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
17. Spooky *|* Dusty Springfield
18. Evil (Is Going On) *|* Howlin’ Wolf
19. Witchcraft *|* Joe Graves & The Diggers
20. The Twilight Zone
21. Demon’s Theme (Part II) *|* LTJ Bukem

Soul Kitchen 04 – The ‘One Note Samba’ Mix

‘One Note Samba’ was originally written and performed by Antonio Carlos Jobin in 1963 on his classic Bossa Nova album ‘Jazz Samba’. Fast-forward three years and, in an effort to step-up record sales, Sergio Mendes hired a new singer (Lani Hall), switched record labels and released ‘Sergio Mendes And Brasil ’66’, which contained the cover version of ‘One Note Samba’ included in this mix. With the support of his friend and mentor, Herb Alpert, the album was a huge success and sold over one million copies.

The song has been covered numerous times since Sergio Mendes’ “little samba built upon a single note” and is a favourite late-night tune amongst DJs who know that “other notes are sure to follow but the root is still that single note”.

This month’s tracklisting:

To Beat The Devil (Intro)
01. Wake Up Everybody ^ Big Youth
02. Sudden Impact (12″ Mix) ^ BAD
03. Angel (Extended Dance Mix) ^ Madonna
04. One Note Samba / Spanish Flea ^ Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66
05. What’d I Say ^ Elvis Presley
06. (Your Love Is Lifting Me) Higher & Higher ^ Jackie Wilson
Everything Is Everything (Interlude) ^ Bootsy Collins
07. College ^ 3 Titans
08. Memory Lane (Sittin’ In Da Park) ^ Nas
09. They Don’t Want ^ Electric Wire Hustle
10. Shine ^ Adrian Younge
11. El Nicoya ^ Santana
12. El Cayuco ^ Tito Puente
13. Sideman ^ The George Benson Quartet
14. Mercedes Benz ^ Janis Joplin
15. In The Dark ^ Billy Squire
16. Carry On Turn Me On (Original 12″ Mix) ^ Space
17. So Free (Original Mix) ^ The Timewriter ft Jay
18. Consolation Prize ^ Julie Doiron
19. Holiday ^ Vampire Weekend
20. Best Of All Possible Worlds ^ Kris Kristofferson
Laughter (Exilude)
21. Come On, Get Happy ^ The Partridge Family

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Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one