Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Back catalogue

Some time earlier in the century we began bringing together the dark corners of Spotify, the places where few listeners tread, the sort of records that only end up there because the distributors signed a deal for better known stuff. Our findings before now are obtainable if you follow that label link at the bottom of the post, or we've playlisted tracks from most albums selected. Regardless, fascinating new material keeps cropping up, and here's a brand new selection. As ever, suggestions welcome via comments.

WWE Anthology
An anthology! Of wrestling themes! Most of these 86 tracks are the handiwork of one Jim Johnston, a commercial jingle writer who's been with the panda copyright-avoiding 'sports entertainment' company since the mid-80s, and herein are guest appearances by Lil Kim, Slick Rick, Naughty by Nature, celebrated German punks H-Blockx and Rick Derringer, whose band The McCoys did one-time 1960s TV-advertised compilation staple Hang On Sloopy and uses his elevated status to get the vocal on Hulk Hogan's Real American. RIYL: cheap takes on arena rock dynamics, sappiness beyond credit when the moment requires (the theme to Randy Savage and Elizabeth's wedding! She's dead now, you know), a range of redolent styles as the years progress from synths to nu-metal, all suffering from a deficiency of production values. It's entirely possible we're missing a million layers of subtlety in Billy Gunn's theme being called Ass Man, but listening to the lyrics we increasingly doubt it.

Spitting Image - 20 Great Golden Gobs
We don't know what Nashville-via-Boston hard rock band The Spitting Image will make of Spotify grouping them together with some Limey impressionists, if they ever find out, but it amuses us. Released in 1990 it's a compilation of the songs with which the weekly latex lampoonery often ended, not featuring The Chicken Song or anything else casual viewers would recognise. The style variation, if as with the above clearly on a tight budget, is testament to the dab (re)creative hand of musical director Philip Pope, occasionally aided by regular TV composer and sometime Glen Ponder actor Steve Brown (who produced Rumer's album, MOR kids) plus lyrical contributions from Ian Hislop and Grant & Naylor, neither/none responsible for the three seperate jibes at ageing rock stars. Unless you count the last track on which one of the four credited vocalists is Carl Wayne - of The Move? - the characters do their own singing, which means Italia 90 cliche previewing Sick As A Moon has credited vocals to Steve Coogan, Chris Barrie and Hugh Dennis - a super three!* - pretending to be Ian St John, Jimmy Greaves, Bobby Robson, Emlyn Hughes (whose name Dennis has to include), Jimmy Hill, David Coleman (who hadn't done football commentary for nine years by this point) and whoever Coogan's being at 0:49. Partridge several years early, by the sounds of it.

4th of July Patriotic Favorites - The Best Of Documentary Recordings
Should you ever require a one-stop shop of army drills, bugle calls, male choirs, military bands and the theme to Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines, it's all here. There's also a bluegrass song about a young soldier being killed when his parachute wraps around his body ("Intestines were a'dangling from his paratrooper suit"). Our favourite is Hard Work, a handclapped call and response drill only a horn section away from resembling a lost Stax classic and surely ready to be sampled by someone, unless it already has been.

Max Miller - The Cheeky Chappie
Ere, now listen! Music hall commandeur, man of the white book and the blue book, wearer of suits that go somewhere beyond flamboyancy, master of double entrendres, influence on a range from Bob Monkhouse to Paul Merton to Ross Noble, captured in various stages of his live act. Superb track titles: Max Sings Of Some Of The Girls He Has Met And Tells Of Some His Father Knew!!, Max Is Now A Swimming Instructor But Is Never Out Of His Depth, Chats On Etiquette & Manners, Jean Carr Asks Some Questions But Max Knows All The Answers, He Now Recites 'What Ju Ju Wants, Ju Ju Must Have', the blunt He Tells Some More and the refusal to let us be the judge Is There No End To His Cleverness.

(* See, you'd know what this was if you followed this feature)

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