Tuesday, April 30, 2024

It Starts With a Birthstone - Albums for April


It Starts With a Birthstone - Songs For April


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 595 Outkast - Stankonia


I really only know Hey Ya! and the one about your shit not stinking. I know I should know more. So I listened to this yesterdday. It's pretty much exceptionally funky and I should have been listening to it at the time. Too long for non converts but this is pretty damned good. 

500 Greatest Albums of the 1980s ... Ranked! # 387 INXS - Listen Like Thieves


Look I'm sorry that Andrew Hutchence is no longer with us. I really am. But does this really mean I have to struggle through one INXS album after another. This might have been one of the better things on daytime radio at the time. Iy wasn't a good time for daytime radio. Anyhow there were better things around that couldn't get on the radio. In Australian terms I refer you to The Triffids and The Go Betweens. 

Best Ever Albums - 2,000 - 1,001 -1,944 Caetano Veloso - Caetano Veloso


A quite staggering, blazing statement in a staggering, blazing musical journey that is not done yet. If this wonderful debut album had been sung in English it would probably be as lauded as Forever Changes by Love or Oddessey & Oracle by The Zombies. It surely has a good claim to be mentioned in the same regard as either record. If you're a Portuguese speaker or even better a Brazilian, you know. Fenomenal !

Song(s) of the Day # 3,723 The Lostines


Meet The Lostines. Appropiately a debut alvum. Recording in Lostines home town New Orleans.Pure old school. 'Where the swampland meets the sock hop. Where golden age crosses paths with old school country.'

Theres no better place for this to take place than The Crescent City. Where the past is always alive. Harmonies and heartbreak. Beautifulyl done. 

Monday, April 29, 2024

Debbie & Chris


Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 594 Roni Size Reprazent - In The Mode


I only dipped my toe with  Roni Size Reprazent records back in the day. This was a little too frantic and I suspected fuelled for an extended morning listen. It was a soundtrack of the times. But halfway through the firsst track I switched to Massive Attack's Mezzanine as the sun made its rise.

500 Greatest Albums of the 1980s ... Ranked! # 388 Snakefinger - Manual Of Errors


'Like fingers snapping at a beatnik party.'

An English born sideman of The Residents. I had no idea what to expect of after this doing a small bit of research before listening just now. I like what I've heard of The Residents without ever threatening to become a fully immersed obsessive. Never strays far from the tree. Curious and interesting but I always struggle with something which reminds me of Zappa too much. Still, definitely worth a listen. 

Best Ever Albums - 2,000 - 1,001 -1,945 Free - Fire & Water


Derided unfairly by many as a second rate Stones. Let's face it there were many who ransacked the Stones wardrobe of riffs and gestures in the late Sixties and early Seventies; this lot, New York Dolls and Aerosmith off the top of my head. But all three brought plenty of their own stuff to the table. This kind of white R&B Heavy Rock has not aged too well perhaps but Fire & Water is a reminder of a time when male twenty somethings grew their hair, wore denim and bared their chests without fear ofgeneral  public ridicule. Tony Blair for example.Probably every other young man of a cerain age and dispotion. Those were the times. This is actually extremely skilled and nuanced.  I enjoyed this thorughly earlier on todaywhile my bath ran.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,722 Next Time Passions


Next Time Passions apparently are 'one of the most important groups of the Greek Indie Pop scene of the 90s.'

I imagine it's an enormous relief to you to discover this information. This seems to be the kind of niche information and interest which the Internet.increasingly caters for these days. Once, and not so recently we used to visit car boot sales and antique markets. Go to the library. 

Now the Internet is here to allow us to browse and indulge from our sitting room desks. So if you're in the process of joining the dots and seekng the Greek Go Betweens, Orange Juice, June Brides, Felt or Belle & Sebastion. Aegean Indie Romantics. Look no further. Next Time Passions are your guys.

Coffee & Regrets collects their stellar moments from their peak '91 to '95. The band regroup occasionally to satisfy those for whom they provided the sountrack to their youths. In the meantime this is an altogether lovely start to your working week.  

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Hit Factories - A Journey Through The Industrial Cities of British Pop # 7 Van Morrison


On the trail of Astral Weeks. I posted my thoughts on this with my account of seeing The Girl With The Replaceable Head yesterday.

500 Greatest Albums of the 1980s ... Ranked! # 391 Black Flag - My War


Black Flag are an experience in a field of their own. It can be a bit relntless and one note for my liking. They don't compromise. 

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 593 LemonJelly - KY


A dance music sample generated record from 2000. Diverting, but largely decorative. 

Best Ever Albums - 2,000 - 1,001 -1,946 The Psychedelic Furs - Talk Talk


A clamorous and slightly fussy second albu from 1981 and Teddington's finest. I enjoyed listening this morning on vinyl as recor's like these are best experienced. I loved the Furs at the time and still do. They have a sound that draws from Lou and David. And most obviously here from Andy McKay's Weimar sax swoon of the first two Roxy albums. The songs require work. The sound is instantly distinctive.

What I Did on Friday Night - The Girl With The Replaceable Head at The Cumberland Arms.

             'and now my life has changed in oh so many ways..'

I woke up with a jolt just after midnight on Friday morning. To the realisation that The Girl With The Replaceable Head were playing that evening at The Cumberland Arms and that I needed to go. I'm going through a very strange phase in my life right now. Undergoing an odd  mental transition and processes, Shifting through thoughts of the past, trying to live in the present and plan for the future. 

 I made my way downstairs in my flat in the darkness. Made myself a cup of tea and listened to Dreamers On The Run the splendid new album from BMX Bandits reviewed on Friday on  It Starts. It was an apt record to set off my Friday morning with. I've just come back from Glasgow which is the city the band are most readily associated with. I was feeling slightly anxious for one reason or another. Aware that I've got lessons to plan and teach when the sun rises. But I have loyalty to the ritual of letting a record run its course. You can't interrupt a good record.

I went back to bed and managed the three hours sleep that made all the difference and set me up to function for the rest of the day. I'm my mother's son and I suppose always will be. Like she does I worry in the darkness. Founded and unfounded anxieties. I live alone and it's probably for the best. I imagine I would drive anyone I cohabited with slightly mad and I wouldn't wish to do that. I like being in relationships. It's exciting and challenging. But I'm not involved or engaged with anyone else at the minute and quite happy and content with that. 

I wake again at five and write my BMX Bandits review and prepare mentally for the couple of lessons I have to teach later in the morning. I like this part of the day, Listening to records for the ascending and descending lists I catalogue on here. Reading if I'm making my way through a book. I like and appreciate the routine. It gives me time to organise and document my thoughts. I like the process of writing. This blog is an ongoing journey of discovery and I'm determined to enjoy it and keep going. Unfinished business.

I bathe and put a record on my player. I've had to endure six months without access to a record player. It's not the best state of affairs. Given the  records which cover almost the entire floorspace of my living room I probably have a couple of thousand albums. I bought them in order to listen to them and it's frustrating not to be able to for an extended period of time. I don't feel like counting, but I have enough frankly for a lifetime now and I probably have a record somewhere which you would enjoy listening to with me.

I've had some week. My life is good right now. Last Sunday I embarked on a working holiday. Actually the first real holiday I've had for years. I caught a train from Newcastle, changed at Edinburgh for Glasgow and stayed in a hotel in the heart of that great Post Industrial city. Taught classes to German business people on Monday and Tuesday morning and explored the city in the afternoon and evening.

It was the first time I'd been to Glasgow and I fell completely in love with the place. I like exploring cities, I'm essentially urban in terms of my tastes. But this was a rare event for me to fall so immediately and become so deeply  smitten as soon as I became acquainted with a space. Falling in love remains one of the best experiences there is. This happened as soon as the initial four hour deluge that greeted my arrival finally lifted..

Rennie Mackintosh and Argyle Street. Gritty architecture and Glaswegian accents that you have to cling onto as best you can and do your best to decipher. Bath Street and the Howlin' Wolf basement Blues Bar where I met and chatted to a cool young female woolyback Liverpudlian barmaid who had been drawn to Glasgow by Skunk Anansie. A splendid way to spend a couple of hours on a Monday afternoon. 

I warmed to the place so much and at one point, wandering up Buchanan Street, my head spinning, I wondered if I could move here. And I'm perfectly happy in Newcastle. But I've lived in Prague and Budapest. And Barcelona. And Catania. I know when a place has the magic that inspires me. I soaked up the essence and will come back for the detail at some point soon. 

I arrived back in Newcastle on Wednesday at just after midday. Marek my record player guy showed up almost immediately and fixed my record player, drove me down to the station in his battered Volvo so I could nip out to the cashpoint in the foyer and recompense him.

Marek is my sort of person. In his mid to late sixties but still doing the job he clearly loves but is too oddball to ever admit it. Running RPM, the best record shop in Newastle. Dealing with antique record  players of various descriptions. Helping punters like me dream their dreams.

I muddled by without it for six months. Listened to Spotify on my headphones and on my TV. It's only when you have the whole vinyl experience restored and your flat is filled with colour and light by your reconnection with your records of  a lifetime you realise that you've been deprived of your soul for too long.

On Friday morning I listen to The Go Betweens Liberty Belle & The Black Diamond Express. I'm planning to go to The Cumberland Arms to see the album launch of the latest record from The Girl With The Replaceable Head. This is the band that Lindy Morrison is drumming with now. 

Anyhow, I never need an excuse to listen to The Go Betweens. They're one of my first and important discoveries and enduring loves. Later on in the morning I grab the chance to play Astral Weeks again. It has to be done as soon as I'm reunited with my player. I'll come back to this later. 

In the meantime I have a couple of online lessons to teach. I realise I have time for an hour in the fitness centre first. I meet Dave the cool guy with the racist uncle that mans the counter desk on a minimum wage. The counter people at my Fitness Centre are invariably cool. University students generally. I tell Dave about Glasgow. He says he'll put it on his bucket list.

I get back just in time for my 9.30 cover. Two pretty and smart young professionals but first and foremost great people who It's very easy to spend 90 minutes with. A cool young Proficiency Polish woman and a cool young Proficiency Russian woman. Working for Boston Scientist in Dussledorf. 

We chat about the Germans. About their English and where they want to go next and what they want to do with their lives. About what it's like to be Polish. What it's like to be Russian.We solve the problems of the world. I'm sad when the ninety minutes comes to an end 

Then Astral Weeks and my second lesson. Deichmann, the shoe people. Another couple of bright, attractive and able young women. There are worse ways to make a living. I chat to Lisa a young single mother in her mid twenties who I'm' meeting for the first time. She's immediately my kind of person. Bubbly, vivacious and funny.

Then Jasmin who I've taught a few times and is also my kind of person. More grounded and less potentially dippy than Lisa I suspect. We occupy ourself with trying to work out how to find a decent bloke for Lisa. I love the way you can seriously occupy yourself in this way and global corporations will pay you for your time.

When I'm done I call mum and then wander into University where I've until recently worked. I have arranged a meeting with Stephen, a Library Manager. I've never really spoken to him though I've always liked him. We have a great chat.

I've recently left the teaching and management related post I occupied for fifteen years. I'd hated my job for over ten years but issues had escalated dramatically in recent years and a company culture which had once resembled Groundhog Day came to more closely put one in mind of Shawshank Redemption, LA Confidential or a busy episode of I Claudius. I kid you not. Lets put it this way. I'm glad I'm out. I still wake blinking from my sleep sometimes and wait a few moments before I tell myself that it's all over now and I can relax..

Anyway, it's time to prepare myself for my night out. It's a lovely Spring evening. Perhaps Spring is here.. I make my way to The Bridge Hotel. Perched on the edge of The High Level Bridge in the shadow of the New Castle itself. It's one of Newcastle's finest pubs.

I get out my books and start reading in the  sunlight of the early evening. I always like it when they don't have intrusive music playing on the in house system at The Bridge. You can lose yourself in the chatter instead. It's one of the features that makes the place so treasurable.

I read the chapter from Hit Factories - A Journey Through The Industrial Cities of British Pop about Belfast. It mostly focuses on a pilgrimage from the author in the steps of Van Morrison and the genesis of Astral Weeks. So much has been written about this record in an attempt to locate, itemise and in some respects make sense and contain a record that has inspired so many.

Personally, having listened to it again myself during the day I think it's a record that defies interpretation and I simply appreciate the fact that it's there. 'It breathes in and breathes out.' It captures the magical and essentially mysterious journey amd passage of life. 

I finish my pint and make my way down the Quayside. Up the hill and down the slope to the Ousebourne. Pause for a bowl of meatballs in the  company of the evening revellers at The Cluny and then up the steep staircase to The Cumberland Arms another of Newcastle legendary, and to my mind increasingly mythical venues.

I might have fallen for Glasgow's charms earlier in the week but Newcastle is my home now and will be until I eventually move on to what comes next. It's a special city and one that makes you feel at home and part of a community. Even if you venture out alone.

Tonight in the backroom, the fiddlers are playing. In the frontroom punters are sampling the fine range of ales The Arms offers. Lindy Morrison and her band are gathered at a sunlit table n the Terrace. I don't like to bother people when they're reparing for their set. But this is Lindy and The Go Betweens and I'm determined to pay my dues. 

The Go Betweens and their legacy means more to me than pretty much any other band. Others measure out their lives in coffee spoons. I've measured out mine in Go Betweens records, gigs and moments among other things. This blog takes its name from a Go Betweens line. I'll never stop playing their records. 

I approach the table where she's stood with members of her band. I catch her eye and introduce myself as one of those Go Betweens fans. She grabs my hand, it's an immediately touching gesture and she  holds her soft hand on top of mine and asks me my name. I tell her and recount a memory of seeing The Go Betweens in 1986 at The Kingston Poly in 1986 with tickets for £1. The band did their soundcheck in a fully lit room before their actual set. It's one of the fundamental musical memories of my youth, I know I'm babbling.

I tell her I love Tracy Thorn's memoirs of her friendship with her, In some ways a settling of scores. . Female solidarity. Her response is typically Lindy. 'I don't like that book.'  The moment couldn't be bettered. It's the Lindy I know and expect and I don't wish to intrude on her any longer. I've had my moment. I tell her I don't have a ticket for the gig. It's sold out. She says, 'Oh hang around. I'll get you in.' I retreat to another table with my beer.

Twenty minutes later the band make their way into the venue and I latch myself onto Lindy again as she's my entry ticket. We make out way into the venue and she gets momentarily confused as to her way to the top room bar where the bands play. She is her age. A woman in her early seventies. Someone who's lived the life. Reportedly shared a spoon, and not one intended for stirring coffee with Nick Cave, but one that went with a needle. Back in the London bedsit days. I direct her and we ascend.

It's the kind of Indie evening that I love and relish at The Cumberland Arms. Friendly, approachable people of a similar age and sensibility to myself. You imagine with similar tastes, sensibilities and approaches to life. Pauline Murray from Penetration pushes past me in a neat beret. Pauline is always at events like this. Always immaculately dressed.  The evening is a celebration of a certain strand of cultural taste.. The records play Aztec Camera's Back on Board. Nick's Red Right Hand. Then the Girl Wth The Repaceable Head ascend the low stage and begin to get their gear tigether. Lindy assembles her kit. 

The Girl have a new album out. Sometimes She Lives in the Dark. Sometimes She Lives in the Light. She's playing with a couple of members of Hurrah! A band from this part of the world who were on the Kitchenware label. David 'Taffy' Hughes, the bands guitarist fronts the group and gabbles between songs in broad Geordie. He's a Seventies refugee with corkscrew hair a cap and a leather jacket, He never stops gabbling. Its what you want. They have an elfin female vocalist  who reminds me of Sandy Denny and Judy Dyble. 

The band start to play and I love their sound. Lindy's only had a few rehearsals after a long flight but she's razor sharp now she's behind her kit. They're a gritty melodic band. Punky but also casting their net wider. Garage Psychedelia as well as Seventies Punk and Indie Eighties. They take their name from a Richard Hell song but they're distinctively English.

I can't keep my eyes off Lindy. She may have seemed slightly confused when we tried to find our way to the venue but now she's in her element. She's still  a completely fantastic drummer, a mould of her own. Kinetic, sharp as nails. A joy to behold. 

At the end of the set which is sharp, varied and alogether rather great, they play a Hurrah! song and to close, one of Go Between's Apology Accepted. One of the bands most nakedly honest and emotive moments. It's all beautifully wrought. Thoughts of departed Grant and bygone days and we're done. I'm off into the night to catch my bus. 

Song(s) of the Day # 3,721 Nolan Potter


I like the process of skimming an scanning through the Spotify playlists of new releases from Friday onwards. Finding new artists and records that I've never heard of, discovering their worlds and seeing what takes my fancy.

This morning Nolan Potter and the intriguingly entitled The Perils of being Trapped Inside My Head. On first play it doesn't seem like entirely the worst place to be. 'Pleasantly skewed musical points of view.' The Bandcamp pageSounds about right. 

Reminders of late Sixties psychedelia. I thought The Who and their only early skewed visions.The record ecomes increasingly whimsical and serves up reminders of Syd and Kevin the longer iytplays.  Prog fans might also be tempted. Certainly an interesting, idiosyncratic record. 

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Iggy's 29th Birthday


500 Greatest Albums of the 1980s ... Ranked! # 392 The Smiths - Rank


A posthumous Live Album, For the hardcore. I'm not quite that. I don't need The Smiths live album. The studio stuff is enough. But this is a great document for those that missed seeing them live in all their magnificent frantic fervour, I regret to say I missed them though I could easily have seen them on many occasions. What a fool. This happens when you're young. 

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 592 Mary J. Blige - Mary


Best Ever Albums - 2,000 - 1,001 -1,947 The War On Drugs - I Don't Live Here Anymore


I like The War on Drugs because I like the things they like. Neil Young and Bobby D. Springsteen. The Band. Wilco and the idea of always being about to set out on the road. They make idealistic, dreaming music for idealistic dreamers in plaid shirts and ble jeans. I generally go straight ti the source. But this was a nice fifty minutes with headphones on just now. 


Song(s) of the Day # 3,720 The Goalie's Anxiety At The Penalty Kick

The Goalie's Anxiety At The Penalty Kick. A stone cold Existentialist classic novel from 1970 by Austrian writer Peter Handke.  About an unhappy disolute man who commits murder and then spends the rest of the book seeking to escape from himself and his lack of remorse. Without success. I told you it was Existentialist .. The kind of thing I tracked down and latched onto hungrily as a teenager undergoing the process of construction of who and what I was.

An equally fine early Will Wenders arthouse movie. And now fifty years an more on an excellent Philidelphia band of Indie misfits and today's Song(s) of the Day. The kind of proud statement of individuality and desire that always jumps out at aging would be bohemian oddballs like me.

Six fellow travellers from the city of brotherly love setting out on their journey. Their second album The Illiad & The Odyssey  & The Goalie's Anxiety of the Penalty Kick shines forth with the hungry vision of youth. The moment when you're devouring these classics for the first time. Discovering love. Making those friendships and alliances that will keep you secure and safe for the rest of your journey. Shaping your soul.

Listening to this first thing on a bright April morning with the sun streamung through my windows makes me glad to be alive and pleased I made my way on the road I chose when I was 16. That I.found my way to The Go Betweens and Television. Carson McCullers and Graham Greene. Camus and Sartre. Satie and Debussy. Oliver Postgate and Roald Dahl. Hal Ashby and Gustav Klimt. The girls I fell for and the friendships I forged.

The Illiad & The Odyssey  & The Goalie's Anxiety of the Penalty Kick is a record from a band htat instinctively understands the small joys of these choices and this act of formation.These people are born bohemians. This is a fantastic record and a fresh love 

Friday, April 26, 2024

500 Greatest Albums of the 1980s ... Ranked! # 391 King Sunny Ade & The African Beats - Synchro System


I have my record player back after six months or so out of service. This is a blessing. I also have a vinyl copy of this majestic record. So I put it on,

Hit Factories - A Journey Through The Industrial Cities of British Pop # 6 The Blue Nile


I've saved this chapter for a week as I've just been up to Glasgow on a short holiday break combined with a bit of work to keep the bank balance ticking over. It was my first visit and frankly I fell in love with the place in a way that I rarely do. It's an enchanting, magical city with a gritty charm. I could easily move there and I don't think I'lll say that about many places before my time is up.Music is not the least of the places charms, though there are other factors for its appeal

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 591 Jeff Mills - Metropolis


Techno maestro's 200  soundtrack for a rerelease of Frits Lang's masterpiece. Best appreciated while waychig the film perhaps. Though it's certainly atospheric enough on its own.


Best Ever Albums - 2,000 - 1,001 -1,948 Al Stewart - Year Of The Cat


Al Stewart's talent is one I appreciate more with the passing years. A singer songer with a taste and touch for times gone past, he's not an artist who will become fashionable again if he ever was. But he has a melodic and melancholic gift and flourush that are rare and treasurable. The title track on this is the song he'll remain best known for.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,719 The BMX Bandits


It's apt that I've fallen under the sell of Dreamers On The Run, the latest album by The BMX Bandits this morning.I've just come back from a short holiday break in Glasgow this week. It's the city the Bandits mecurial leader and visionary Duglas T. Stewart is most readily associated with. A place where the musical scenes and sensibility he was a mover and shaker within still looms large.

 Dreamers On The Run is in every respect a tribute and addition to the seam of music which Stewart emreged from at the end of the Eighties. The sleeve of the album here depicts him in bearded reverie, and serves up reminders of visionary mavericks of the Sixiues. Scott Walker, Dion, Van Dyke Parkes and Del Shannon spring to mind.

The record does not shame comparisons such as these. A Naive Art album in the tradition of The Modern Lovers, Jad Fair, Teenage Fanclub, Belle & Sebastian and The Delgados, it's an LP of continual childlike wonder and beauty.

Not for all tastes perhaps. Best enjoyed and appreciated if you have wimpy C-86 blood flowing through your veins. I'm a man of such DNA and this was an excellent start to my Friday morning. It's surely Stewart's masterpiece. I imagine he's incredibly pleased with this, and with very good reason. Dream on Duglas. You fragile pearl. .

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 590 P J Harvey - Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea


PJ Harvey records are always a ride.None more so than this, her fifth, from 2000. Made after six months spent in New York City and it shows.  An urban, jagged, rounded and typically intense experience.

500 Greatest Albums of the 1980s ... Ranked! # 392 Fleetwood Mac - Tango In The Night.


I have a lot of time for the Buckingham / Nicks era Mac. The final album of the classic line up is perhaps not the record of theirs I'd choose but their are sparks of the old magic. 

Best Ever Albums - 2,000 - 1,001 -1,949 Violeta Parra - Las Ultimas Composiciones De Violeta Parra


                        Chilean Folklorist and activist. Incredibly evocative of a people's struggle.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,718 Local Natives

There was once a time when men were not afraid to harmonise in groups with out fear of being labelled wimps or having their sexuality questioned. The Everly Brothers, Doo Wop Groups. The Four Seasons.Beach Boys, Beatles. 

Then a bit of a lull. Men became men from 1966 on for the most part onward. Bared their chests and projected their testosterone at the babes in the front row. You had the Bee Gees. Then Punk. Hardly the high point of men harmonising sweetly together. 

Early R.E.M. brought back some of that pure beauty back.Then twenty years or more onwards the likes of Midlake and Fleet Foxes were not afraid to lay bear their souls in the quest for beauty.

Californians Local Natives have been plying this seam for the best part of twenty years. On latest album But I'll Wait For You they revel in this fragile sensitivity and frankly it's all rather lovely. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 589 Esbjorn Svenson - Good Morning Susie Soho

 Esbjorn Svenson died tragically young, at 44. An ambassador of Jazz and this record, (from 2002) is a fine way to begin an appreciation. 

500 Greatest Albums of the 1980s ... Ranked! # 393 Pink Floyd - The Final Cut


I'm reasonably open minded. But Pink Floyd is generally the line in the sand I refuse to cross.. I couldn't start listening to this. I was enjoying my day and planned to continue doing so..

Best Ever Albums - 2,000 - 1,001 -1,950 Tom Waits - Alice


There are worse things to do first thing in  the morning than becoming acquainted with a Tom Waits record that you haven't heard before. He remains consistent to his beautiful, crooked vision. He's an artist, in the truest meaning of hte word.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,717 Sertab Erner

A very Turkish vision the album sleeve. A sultry looking lady in a flowing dress gazing out at you alluringly, not to say seductively. Talk about Turkish delight.!

The latest album  Her Dem Akustik matches up to its sleeve.Full of the mystery of the near orient.A veteran of the Turkish music scene and she's on majestic form here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

500 Greatest Albums of the 1980s ... Ranked! # 394 Felt - The Splendor of Fear


Felt are a band that had to await decades before they received their due. Albums like 1984's Splendor of Fear seem lke brilliantly realised, crystalline products four decades on. They've been given the repackaging and rereleased process they richly deserve four years down the line. That's little consolation to Lawrence and guitar visionary Maurice Deebank I imagine. Where are their mansions? Their swimming pools?. 

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 588 Afterlife - Simplicity 2000


Bland chill out room muzak was my impression. I lasted a track then went esewhere.

Best Ever Albums - 2,000 - 1,001 -1,951 Soundgarden - Down On The Upside


Down On The Upside is a perfectly respectable follow up to a world-slaying album. It's the same formula really as Soudgarden had already deployed to such good effect on Superinknown. They're a state of the art killing machine. The best at what they do. Thirty years on Superinknown is the record you need. In an eat all you can dinery, Down On The Upside is here for those who are not sated and need second servings. I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of it  this morning without being convinced that it had anything that we hadn't already experienced with their career defining album.

Song(s) of the Day # 3,716 Moonpools


Almost a composite, dream sound of a certain sound. A dream marriage of a particular sensibility dreamed up on the Internet.

Cocteau Twins meet Sundays, Cranberries, Alvvays and Darling Buds on a dream date and settle down n the suburbs to make records together.

Definirely ones to watch. They're a managers or record pluggers vision of hapiness. A perfectly formed sound and look ready for in stores and the road.

Monday, April 22, 2024

500 Greatest Albums of the 1980s ... Ranked! # 395 Galaxie 500 - Today


Galaxie 500 take me back. To when I first fell for their gentle sound and vision, during the few years when the band were active at the end of the Eighties. I bought On Fire, their second album and coveted Today and This Is Our Music their first and third. The brittle majesty of these statements still endures.

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 587 Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker


Ryan Adams became an 'unperson' for  while. One of those 'cancelled' celebrities. A dilemma quite of his own making. It doesn't stop his body of work being any less remarkable.

Best Ever Albums - 2,000 - 1,001 -1,952 Snow Patrol - Eyes Open


Strange that I should be in Glasgow listening to Snow Patrol. It was a T in The  Park broadcast where I first set my eyes on the band. Playing a headlining slot in a large tent. Their moment of arrival in front of a sea of ecstaic believers. 

It was quite a memorable moment. Even if at this distance, the music from their breakthrough record, 2006's Eyes Open, sounds a mite 'generic windswept.'

Song(s) of the Day # 3,715 Steven R. Smith


An interesting and different start to the week for me. Perched at the end of a hotel bed in Glasgow, preparing for my online lesson later this morning. Listening to an interesting and altogether charming new record too.

Steven R. Smith's Olive. An orchestral and baroque instrunebtal chamber piece. I found it strangely reminiscent of the music to the magical childhood TV programmes I used to watch open jawed back in my youth.Noggin The Nog came to mind. .

.Evocative winding instrumental pieces that allow your mind to explore the vistas the music plots. Verdant winding paths. Seas and valleys. A great start to the working week

Sunday, April 21, 2024

500 Greatest Albums of the 1980s ... Ranked! # 396 The Only Ones - Baby's Got A Gun


                                                 Doomed romantics. 'Dissolute in the best way.'

Mojo Collection - The Ultimate Music Companion # 586 Harold Budd -The Room


                                                Abstracted ambience. An appreciation of stillness.

Best Ever Albums - 2,000 - 1,001 -1,953 Charli XCX - Pop 2


Song(s) of the Day # 3,714 Pat Thomas


Record Store Day remains an event for the likes of me for whom music remains a central preoccupation. Though there's rarely much that appeals to me, I'm not that kind of obsessive and I probably have enough records in my flat to keep me going for the rest of my days, it's good to show willing.

So I showed my face briefly at RPM Records yesteray. My favourite record shop in Newcastle. Where everybody knows my name.To chat to Rich an Craig who were extremely bust and listen to the DJs selections, yesterday something from Donal Fagen's Nightfly, always a pleasure.

Browsing through the rows of special releases, there was inevirably something which caight my fancy. Yesterday Pat Thomas, with Jazz and Bossa Nova classics arranged and conducted by Lalo Schiffre from 1962. On Green Vinyl no less. I still feel I need souvenirs from these occasions. .

Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Triffids - Born Sandy Devotional

 Written a while back:

The Triffids - Born Sandy Devotional

Album Reviews # 4 The Triffids - Born Sandy Devotional

I just saw on my feed that someone, appropriately in Australia, was reading this review. This gives me the excuse to re-post it. It's one of the first things I wrote on here, three and a half years back and still one of my favourites. What I didn't pick up on there though is that the whole album is a reflection on unrequited love.

"When we finished Born Sandy Devotional I knew it was the best thing we’d ever done, there was no question about it. The writing was much more autobiographical than anything I’d done before, I felt quite close to the subject matter. I found myself almost following the idea of fidelity as a complete all-consuming faith, to give you some sort of direction or something. And ‘Born Sandy Devotional’? It was the name of a song which didn’t make it onto the record which is about someone called Sandy… I like titles like those, they’re just a law unto themselves and they have a feeling unto themselves. Born Sandy Devotional is the culmination of our efforts trying to capture our more considered lyrical approach with a physical intensity… well not really, but that will have to do." David McComb .

This album is one of the most literary records in my collection and I've got quite a few. Many of them date back to the early to mid-eighties when there seemed to be quite a demand for this kind of thing. A lot of talented people were choosing music at this point as a medium for literary exploration. Morrissey, Robert Forster, Grant McLennan, Michael Stipe, Lloyd Cole, Paddy Macaloon, Nick Cave, Roddy Frame, Mike Scott. And David McComb who stands comparison with the best of them.

He wrote every track on here. Each song could be considered a short story or a synopsis or fragment of a novel. They're also self contained. But they're not exercises in style. They're incredibly deeply felt and realised. Not all of them are in the first person but they are all inhabited. All of life's strongest emotions are heightened on here to almost intensely painful degrees; wonder, pain itself, obsession, madness, grief, hope, love, happiness and loss.

There are times on the record when virtually everything seems to be at stake. This is a difficult trick to pull off. It could easily tip over into cheap melodrama. I was never a huge fan of the records Nick Cave released at around about the same time for example because I thought he made this mistake all the time . I felt he got too close to his songs. McComb and The Triffids knew to keep some distance. The main way I think they managed this is because the accompanying music here is so essentially beautiful and full of the light of the landscape they grew up in that the individual songs and the album as a whole never collapse into maudlin introspection or self pity. They know exactly how to sugar their pill by lacing some intensely tough subject matter with sweetness and grace.

The record cover is an aerial photograph of a beachal coastline in Mandurah, Western Australia where the band hail from. It was taken in 1961. McComb was born the following year. This is not either insignificant or inconsequential as the group and McComb in particular are immersing themselves in their past and their landscape here. His comment above about the autobiographical nature of these songs and his own closeness to their subject matter was really helpful to me in getting a fuller handle on understanding what happens on the record. His statement about the focus on fidelity as an all consuming faith is even more revealing as on closer investigation of the songs and their lyrics it can be identified as the driving obsession of the protagonists on every track on Born Sandy Devotional.

The Triffids had taken a long time to get to this point as a group, releasing countless singles, EPs and a solitary album Treeless Plain released in 1983. And all the time touring relentlessly across the breadth and depth of Australia, learning their craft and developing their vision. In order to make their great leap forward they chose to uproot themselves and move to England in 1984, following in the footsteps of fellow Australian friends and mentors The Saints, The Birthday Party and The Go Betweens. By this point they had become a sturdy, confident set of musicians, the slightly amateurish, ramshackle nature of their early records had broadened into a confident wide screen sound that few of the British bands of the time could live with either on record or live.

For opening song The Seabirds I can't improve on quoting the whole lyric because it shows better than anything else exactly what level The Triffids and McComb would be playing at here:

"No foreign pair of dark sunglasses
will ever shield you from
the light that pierces your eyelids,
the screaming of the gulls
feeding off the bodies of the fish
thrashing up the bay till it was red
turning the sky a cold dark colour
as they circled overhead.

He swam out to the edge of the reef
there were cuts across his skin
saltwater on his eyes and arms,
but he could not feel the sting
there was no one left to hold him back

no one to call out his name
dress him feed him drive him home
say "Little boy it doesn't have to end this way"

He announced their trial separation
and spent the night in a Park Beach Motel bed
a total stranger lying next to him
rain hitting the roof hard over his head
she said "What's the matter now lover boy
has the cat run off with your tongue?
Are you drinking to get maudlin
or drinking to get numb?"

He called out to the seabirds "Take me now,
I'm no longer afraid to die"
but they pretended not to hear him
and just watched him with their hard and bright black eyes
they could pick the eye from any dying thing
that lay within their reach
but they would not touch the solitary figure
lying tossed up on the beach.

So, where were you?
(McComb 1986)

It's about the journey within and how the elemental landscape you find yourself in, (and there can't be a landscape much more elemental and enveloping than the one McComb and The Triffids understood so well)  can turn pitiless, rip you apart and devour you. McComb knew his literature. This reminds me of Camus' The Outsider, Paul and Jane Bowles' writing about Northern Africa (particularly The Sheltering Sky) and what I imagine Malcolm Lowry's  Under the Volcano to be like (haven't read it, should do one day).

The 'little boy it doesn't have to end this way' line is resonant because the second track, Estuary Bed, takes us back to where it started or thereabouts. 'The children are walking back from the beach'. It's about the blessed realm of childhood. How the weeks of a summer spent on the beach on the sand and in the sea can stretch out into an eternal, golden, sensory state. 'Wasting away for hours and hours and hours.' McComb is really strong on the physical sensations of being adolescent.The sun, salt and silt but the song as far as I can understand it is about the inevitable transition from that false eternity and the vain striving afterwards in the narrator's consciousness to recover what's gone forever. 'Come on, climb over your father's back fence. For the very last time take a short cut across his lawn.' Breaking the father's law not for the very last time on this album by any means. McComb studied divinity, literature and journalism and he puts it all to good use here . It's not entirely clear what occurs but we are left to draw our own conclusions  'Silt returns across the passage of flesh...I bear the stain. It won't wash off.' The landscape remains, endures and renews itself. What's human is recovered by the elements. 'What use memory covered in estuary silt?'

(I've done my best to interpret things here but much of it is beyond me. Still. This track is something truly special.Trust me. Great use of vibraphone!)

How often do we listen to our favourite records over a lifetime? Born Sandy Devotional must be among my top twenty most played albums. Possibly top ten. I've had it for almost thirty years. But I've never really heard its third song Chicken Killer before I listened to it in order to write this a few days ago. I've been thinking about it ever since

 I always thought it was one of The Triffids joke songs. They certainly produced a few. McComb was so prolific that he would dash them off and the band would spit them out and they would race on to the next. This strength was eventually their downfall in my opinion as they finally lost quality control and coughed up some real duds which fatally overtipped their final album. But that's another story.

My younger sister, and I would laugh about this track together. 'Here it comes Chicken Killeragain' just as Jill Birt, The Triffids second vocalist and McComb would rip into the chorus together, 'Here he comes the killer again. Here he comes the chicken killer again.' It was slight. And slightly ridiculous. So I thought. I've now discovered it's not!

The problem lies in the lack of  lyric sheet. This album really deserves and would be complemented by one. The words to Chicken Killer are just superb! It's a tale of madness in the Australian outback. Flannery O'Connor or Faulkner would be proud. The protagonist is the bewildered hen slayer of the song's title. He runs through the corn fields where he first courted his dead love, grief stricken, ribs poking through his yellow skin. Blasting the birds on the telephone line, scaring the local children, He's delirious in pain; driven mad by the scalding rural sun and the loss of his love. The locals gather round and try to calm him, indicating the heavens where she is now. But the chicken killer can't hear them. He makes reference to a man on a cross on a hill but knows that he himself is damned. And afterwards, destined to become the stuff of local folklore

'And the children were singing, "Here he comes the killer again
Here he comes the chicken killer again"
My ears were filled with that joyful ringing
My ears were filled with that happy singing'

For Tarrilup Bridge McComb hands the stage over more fully to Jill Burt. She's generally given every fifth or sixth song throughout The Triffids career. It would probably be accurate to say she doesn't have an operatic vocal range and would be more fairly placed in the Mo Tucker school of singing than in Edith Piaf's but this can be really effective in short doses. It provides relief here from McComb's much more intense style. Tarrilup Bridge is a suicide note. The body count is really beginning to mount up by now and I'm not just referring to unfortunate chickens.

"Packed my bag
Left a note on the fridge
And I drove off the end of the Tarrilup Bridge.

Now you read about me in the papers
They say I'm going to be a big star
They're making a movie about my life
And you're going to play the starring part."

It's worth stating again that McComb knows his fiction, particularly American fiction,  and also, I imagine, his cinema. At various points there are echoes of Steinbeck, Hemingway and Fitzgerald in his writing. Here I'm reminded more of Film Noir (something like Double Indemnity or The Postman Always Rings Twice) and the pulp fiction of Chandler, Cain or Hammett. There's not much more to the lyric than the lines I've just quoted and for the most part the music carries and conveys the atmosphere. It's heavily laden with shuddering sound effects. The song poses as many unanswered questions as an actual suicide. It doesn't particularly go anywhere like his best stuff does. Still, it's a change of pace, which I'd say is what the album requires here.

Perhaps it's just a well we've had a breather because the next two tracks are absolutely the emotional core of the record. And Joseph Conrad and cliche fans will be delighted to know that it's a heart of darkness in every respect. Andrew Mueller, the Australian born music journalist writes very well about this album on his website. He states there that

"There are parts of Australia you could drop a medium-sized European country on without hitting anybody. To drive the roads that lace these empty immensities is to confront an enormity of landscape, and a concomitant insignificance of humanity, difficult to explain to inhabitants of the northern hemisphere."

The Triffids attempt to do so here. Lonely Stretch, the closing track of Side One describes the moment when you know you are more hopelessly and irretrievably lost than you ever imagined it was possible to be. The Triffids have driven off the road into utter darkness without the remotest hope of ever finding their way back.
"Land was so flat, could well have been ocean
No distinguishing feature in any direction"
"without another living thing in sight
Without another living soul in sight."

I've always been at a bit of a loss with this particular song because I don't have the emotional data to understand the wilderness The Triffids are hurtling through here . The only reference point I could make when I was listening to it the other night and trying to understand where it was going was to Ian Curtis. I have to confess that I've never thought of McComb and Curtis as similar writers or singers before but could hear some connection in this song; there's certainly a protracted howl in pitiless darkness here that Joy Division obsessives would recognise. I can only shrug my shoulders and leave it to Mueller again as he  understands better than I ever will the emotional and physical terrain described here :
“Lonely Stretch” is a staggering study of white-line fever, exuberantly declaimed by McComb. He is, once again, a man gone mad, gone driving, gone bush, going nowhere: Behind him, The Triffids summon a five-minute opera in several acts, sounding in some respects like The Band, The Velvet Underground and The Birthday Party, but mostly (still!) like nothing else you’ve ever heard. As it builds to a frenetic crescendo, there’s a palpable sense of an accelerator foot pushing to the floor, and hands lifting off the steering wheel. “You could die out here,” roars McComb, “of a broken heart”.

'I took a wrong turn, I took a wrong turn
I hit a lonely stretch
Rock my soul in the bosom of Abraham
Guide me back to the bosom of Abraham
So high can't get over it, so low can't get under it,
So wide can't get around it, I took a wrong turn,'

Wide Open Road has been called the Australian Born to Run a few times. I've got some time for Springsteen but this is not on. It does the track, McComb and The Triffids an enormous injustice. This song stands alone. It's one of my very favourites and my favourite in one respect in that it's the song that best describes life to me. Life as an open road is not a particularly difficult idea to understand or identify with or take on as an expression of your existence and it's been used by novelists, painters, poets and musicians and people who are none of those things as an expression of theirs. The Triffids do it best for me.

The sounds of the organ which we hear first always sound to me like dawn breaking. I play it a lot in the morning as a result. Though come to think of it, I play it a lot at midday, in the afternoon, early evening and at night time too. McComb's whispered '2,3,4' set the tapes rolling, the drumbeat starts pulsing and it's not at all fanciful to describe this as life beginning. There. I've done so! It's with the opening lyrics and the responding drum cracks though that the whole thing really kicks off.

                                                 "Well the drums rolled off in my forehead
                                                   and the guns went off in my chest
                                                   Remember carrying the baby for you
                                                   Crying in the wilderness"

From this point on it's got a momentum that it never loses. It's about love. It's about loss. It's about hunting something down. It's about pain of the sort that someone with a background in divinity can best describe. It's about an elemental, burning landscape under a big and empty sun that tells an essential truth that your god will provide you with precious solace when everything else has spun out of control. It's about obsessive, compulsive desire and our restless need for one another to provide meaning, contact and love. It's about the next day starting and then the next after that. The seamless flow of days and weeks and months and years  For me ultimately it's about the redemption provided by the closing line 'and now you can go any place that you want to go.' I've identified with it when I'm overjoyed. I've done so when I'm despondent. And also in despair. I always find it indescribably empowering. It's The Triffids defining song. It has a good claim to be Australia's defining song. It speaks best for itself.

As a postscript it's worth pointing out that this got to Number 26 in the UK Pop Chart in 1985. As far as I know The Triffids weren't granted a Top of the Pops appearance. Meanwhile, it reached Number 64 in Australia.

After these two incredible moments all The Triffids need to do is maintain the pace. To me this is exactly what the second song on this side, Life of Crime, does. It a high quality track in itself exploring further the territory and themes that McComb has laid out previously. It's describes country love gone to the bad and reminds me most of Terrence Mallick's remarkable film Badlands which shows a couple of killers on the road in the Depression era Southern states..As Mueller suggests it veers into Nick Cave territory which is perhaps why it's not such a firm favourite of mine. It's all getting a bit intense for me under the sun. The air out here is pretty thick. I think I'll go inside.

Because of Born Sandy Devotional's incredibly clear sense of time, place and mood it always seems apparent to me where and when each song is set. In the morning, in the middle of the day, in the evening or at night, by the sea, in the fields, in the outback. Personal Things, the following track, seems to be the only song here that takes place indoors. As with allowing Jill Burt to sing Tarrilup Bridge, this provides needed relief for me.

The theme is still intense. The narrator is rooting endlessly through the personal possessions and trinkets of his lost, loved one. Where she is now remains unclear. Has she left him or is she dead? Has he killed her and found himself a new place of residence? I'm not sure if he's even of this world himself anymore. The place where he is seems to be purgatory wherever it is geographically.

Some secrets of love you take to your bed and there's
some that you take to your grave. Well I took mine
to a new address, where I took my rest, at the end
of the day.

This was one of the songs I immediately identified with on hearing the record when I was nineteen . It was easy to digest and like musically. It whispered The Doors at me and as someone who owned all six of that band's studio albums already this made it made it instantly palatable and lovable. I stand by the way I felt then.

Incredibly at this late stage The Triffids have one more straight ace up their sleeve still to play. Another completely show stopping set piece that bears honest comparison in terms of scale with either Lonely Stretch or Wide Open Road and for me pretty much anything written by anybody else too. At least anything I've heard. It's Stolen Property. Fourth song, second side. I'm quite sure this might be many true devotees of this record's favourite moment. It might be my sister's for example. Here, lyrically McComb does something he's never quite done before. More than anywhere else on the album I get the sense that he's directly speaking to the listener from their record player.

 In terms of major influences on his writing I'd suggest Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen perhaps Johnny Cash. Dylan, for example is all over the naming of the album. He's also here in this track in the sustained accusatory condemnation, I assume directed towards a woman (maybe someone who's spurned him), of somebody who sees themselves as a player, as worldly, but who for McComb isn't really engaged with what he sees as the essence of life. Somebody who is not going forward or in fact going anywhere at all. Someone with no place to go. The greatest crime of all. A life unlived. Again, I'm going to have to quote at length to try to fully show what I'm getting at here:

'You just lie around waiting on a signal from heaven
Never had to heal any deep incisions
Darling you are not moving any mountain
You are not seeing any vision
You are not freeing any people from prison
Just an aphorism for every occasion
As if the only thing that ever matters
is your place at the table
You never read the writing on the label
when you drank from the bottle
It said Keep Away From Children'

   For me this is writing of a completely astonishing skill, insight and emotional sensitivity. It takes some inspiration from Dylan's Like a Rolling Stone or Positively Fourth Street and I'd really say that this is the level that McComb is operating at here. The rest of The Triffids keep pace with him with an understated but note-perfect support. It's about our given duty to play a part. To earn our place at a table worth sitting at (clearly not the table the woman is concerned with) and never take it as given.  Never to wait for the final judgement. Because it happens every day. That's Albert Camus, not mine I'm afraid. We don't require a signal from heaven to do these things. It's down to us and it's our mortal responsibility to stay engaged.

Just saying this would be enough but McComb is still not done. The woman is banished  'she can't hurt you now... she don't belong here anymore.. learning the hard way' and the song seems to be winding down. But out of nowhere McComb comes striding back in full preacher's mode declaiming .'Pick yourself up! Hold yourself up to the light!' The idea that even the object of the song's withering contempt and judgement can be reclaimed and redeemed. Words fail me.

It must have been difficult to decide how to close this album. There's been so much intense emotional turmoil, violence and blood-letting already that to try and top it or go to the places where it had already been would have been a mistake. The Triffids are far too smart for that. Tender is the Night is the closing song and it's elegiac, a word you'll find in any good dictionary, and offers the hope that's needed although it's a hope that's hard won and uncertain. Once again McComb gives it to Jill Burt although he duets with her towards its end and here she has something much more complete and fully realised to work with than she had on Tarrilup Bridge. She makes good use of it.
The fact the title is borrowed from the name of a Scott Fitzgerald novel is not an accident at all for me. There's much of the beautiful doomed youth of Fitzgerald's fiction to the story told here.
'Surrounded himself with shiny things
First night tickets, ermine, pearls upon a string
And disappeared in all the pestilence
that sudden pleasure brings

He never asks after her anymore
He made a point of losing her address
And every trinket that she ever touched
he keeps locked away
And just burns up In the furnace of his chest'

This reminds me so much of Tender is the Night the novel and what I took away from it when I read it first for my A levels. It could almost be the characters of the book. Dick Diver and Nicole and possibly Tommy Barban who Nicole eventually leaves Dick for. At the end of the novel Dick ends up giving a hugely public display of making the sign of the cross on a crowded beach on the French Riviera after Nicole has left him, a sign of his impending emotional breakdown. I'm sure this is something McComb would have appreciated fully when he read it which I imagine he did given the use of its title here. It's how people use each other up when they're young, or even not so young, one might discard the other but both carry their love for each other within them forever. Here the female narrator is with someone else in the song, far away from the person she's describing to him. 'I left him. And I can leave you too. Baby let's go out tonight..' But she still carries the memory of the one she loved before. He will always be the first.
 'It's getting dark earlier now.
But where you are it's just getting light.
Where you are it will just be getting light.'

(This is an alternative version of the song to the one that appears on the album)

So that's Born Sandy Devotional. It's inhabited me since I decided to listen to it and write about it on a beautiful, sunny afternoon we had last Saturday. I've acted otherwise as well as I could. I've got up, gone to work, functioned in that respect as well as I was able because I have a certain internal protestant work thing going on. But inside me Born Sandy Devotional has been spinning and my internal mechanisms have been alert to their utmost because I've wanted to do justice to this. Because it matters.
The album didn't sell that much when it was initially released but was almost universally praised. The band signed to Island Records as a result of this acclaim but the records that were released after this didn't match up in any respect. It pains me to say so. There are certain songs I'd point interested parties towards; Bury me Deep in LoveTrick of the Light, Hometown Farewell Kiss, Only One Life, Goodbye Little Boy. Any of these songs could have slotted into Born Sandy Devotional and not been overshadowed and actually improved the album further in some cases. But the band lost momentum and split.

Much of the group sloped off to nine to fives. Fair enough. I do nine to five myself. Less than ten years later though McComb himself was dead. The circumstances of his decline and death were deeply upsetting  and  depressing whichever way you choose to scrutinise them. I don't want to go into it here.  Like Cobain and Curtis he clearly meant it. The Triffids have recently reformed and continue to tour with guest singers but this is something that's beyond my understanding because The Triffids without McComb upfront makes no earthly sense to me. Good as they were as a collective McComb was their guiding rudder and reason for being. They won't and this won't be forgotten!