Sunday, May 24, 2009

Baiting McAfee

Given informed opinion on Spotify at the moment is a) it's merely the acceptable public face of an IPFI/DMCA plot to undermine The Pirate Bay and b) it's going to go under soon anyway because it can't sustain its business model, it's probably best you share in its myriad wonders while you still can. To that end, here's another four oddities we dredged up from the back of its operations.

The Grimethorpe Colliery Brass Band - Movie Brass
You could not get a colliery band anywhere else in the world, we suspect. Admittedly we doubt proper collieries exist any more elsewhere in the world, nor brass bands in the Johnny Briggs style as opposed to the US college football ra-ra style. Anyway, the Grimethorpe lot are Britain's longest lasting and most famous, having soundtracked and been the basis of love-in-the-time-of-Heseltine sleeper post-Full Monty comedy hit Brassed Off, and alongside many explorations into traditional brass band music came this Pop Goes The Classics shot at widening the audience. Some tracks fare much better than others, largely due to the inherent heroic fanfare nature and dialling down of the cliched tuba, but a shot at the Rocky theme seems to be affected by an outbreak of professional pride, Colonel Bogey is trampled underfoot and the Star Wars theme, however dramatic its arrangement, can't quite carry off bringing a little bit of Hollywood to South Yorkshire.

Dirty Fan Male (NSFW)
"Were I alive you wouldn't have to be doing this..." Followers of film and library music and general semi-kitsch ephemera will know of Trunk Records, Jonny Trunk's excavationary life's work mostly and justly famed for putting back into print the soundtracks to the likes of The Wicker Man, Dawn Of The Dead and The Clangers. Jonny's sister is glamour model and forthcoming lonely Googler bait Eve Vorley, and he ended up running her fan club. Amused by the specific and odd nature of some of the correspondence she received, he put some of the letters to his actor friend Duncan Wisbey, resulting in an Edinburgh Fringe stage show that ended up as a book and this CD. The Ladies' Bras, later of Scott Mills propelled top 40 fame, is here, but get past that for all sorts of highly guilty pleasures. My special message: penis. (By the way, somehow the track titles have been reversed)

America's Bugle Calls
The whole world's bugle calls, we like to think. That's pretty much what it is, in truth, the key of G bugle repertoire you'd find in an army outpost or passing-out ceremony, so there's no solo bugle versions of the theme from Live And Let Die or covers of Whiter Shade Of Pale or anything like that. The likes of Adjutants Call and Sick Call are quite lively, though, and Roast Beef Of Old England somehow finds a midpoint between merrie albion and Vietnam military call.

Mike Sammes & The Mike Sammes Singers - Music For Biscuits
Not an avant-garde concept piece. It's a less disturbed/disturbing element from the Trunk catalogue, and one with a backstory that's pure cultural age England. Sammes' ensemble worked for the best part of four decades recording backing vocals and jingles - that's them backing up on Delilah and Green Green Grass of Home, leading on the strident theme to Stingray, even providing the "oompah, oompah, stick it up your jumper" on I Am The Walrus. They worked with Crosby, Sinatra, Streisand and Garland, Bacharach, George Martin and Andrew Loog Oldham. They occasionally did the voices for Pinky & Perky. After Sammes died in 2001 Trunk helped rescue a cache of master tapes found in his back room, from which this is a cross-section of radio advertising spots for the likes of Ariel, Timex, Fairy, Heineken, Dulux, Westminster Banks and, yes, biscuits. The skill of the complex close harmonies against easy listening instrumentation is almost unworthy of throwing away on adverts for International Harvester agricultural equipment, but that's how things were in the 60s advertising game. "Secombe, Sellers and Spike... Aldrin, Collins and Armstrong, a super three!"

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