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Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 15

posted January 29, 2014, 12:30 am by CharlesMartel | Filed Under Music News, Recommendations from the Writer's Mind, Video | comment Leave a Comment


So what is missing? Well there are some genres which I detest with a ferocity that I could sell to Iran to replace their nuclear weapons programme. Disco is one and most of what is today called RnB I consider to be nothing more than soulless soul. Occasionally, a mainstream commercial release will slip in, but those are the true guilty pleasures of my life. Genres such as hip-hop are under-represented but the biggest omission is jazz. Jazz frightens me. It covers such a wide space of time and differences in styles that I do not know where to start. I have heard stuff by the jazz greats – Coltrane, Mingus, Davis – but that sort of freeform jazz leaves me cold. Technically brilliant it may be, but it is so far removed from anything else I can relate to that I would begrudge the time I would have to spend listening to it to decide whether I like it or not.

And your next twenty are….

Charles Martel’s 720-701

720. The Candyskins – “In My Hair” (Sunday Morning Fever)

The Candyskins wrote some really good songs which dealt with the realities of life. But they never found a home for themselves and faded away. This song is an unlikely love song and is a quite engaging track.

719. Lush – “Desire Lines” (Split)

Without a doubt, Miki Berenyi’s finest vocal performance. This was the stand out track from the entire output of this shoegaze-turned Britpop band.

718. Thornton, Big Mama – “Hound Dog” (10” Single)

Elvis may have made this famous but he toned down both the delivery and contempt inherent in Big Mama’s version. I am genuinely not sure which version I prefer, but Big Mama certainly knew how to pack a vocal punch!

717. East Village – “Strawberry Window” (7” Single)

East Village’s sole foray into jangle pop was an unexpected treat. This track brings all the feeling of the joys of summer and the blossoming of romance. It would take a stony and miserable heart not to like it.

716. Soft Cell – “Say Hello Wave Goodbye” (Non Stop Erotic Cabaret)

Soft Cell hit hard at the seedy underbelly of the London club scene. This was about the transient promiscuity of the gay scene in the days before AIDS and was a hit single for the band, surprising given its theme.

715. Catherine Wheel – “Fripp” (Chrome)

Named after, but nothing to do with Robert Fripp, Catherine Wheel provide a lesson in shoegaze, starting slowly and layering guitar on guitar as the sound gradually builds. Listen, learn, then practice at home.

714. The Stone Roses – “I Wanna Be Adored” (The Stone Roses)

The Stone Roses almost changed the UK music scene forever. The problem was they fell out with everybody who they tried to work with. This song takes a stab at those who were in it for the money, which the Stone Roses’ behaviour indicated was always to them secondary to the music.

713. Hurt, Mississippi John – “Stack o Lee Blues” (10” Single)

In case you are wondering, Stagger Lee was a real person and he did kill someone in a bar-room brawl. Little did he know that he would become a legend and the subject of many songs, including one by the Clash. This is Mississippi John Hurt’s take on the legend.

712. Dylan, Bob – “The Times They Are a-Changin’” (The Times They Are a-Changin’)

One of Bob Dylan’s finest protest songs, this was a musical moment which galvanised sections of American society. It still has the ability to ring true today, showing how far the times have not changed.

711. Fleetwood Mac – “The Chain” (Rumours)

To anyone who has ever watched an F1 Grand Prix in the UK, this will be instantly recognisable. Included because it reminds me of many a Sunday afternoon spent watching ridiculously shaped cars driving round a circuit at impossibly high speeds.

710. The Clapham South Escalators – “Leave Me Alone” (7” Single)

Garage punk was an almost stillborn child of punk. It proved a sickly child and never survived long. The Clapham South Escalators did provide it with this, probably its finest moment. The band itself was an offshoot of psychobilly outfit the Meteors

709. Sugar – “A Good Idea” (Copper Blue)

This sounds almost so like the Pixies, you could be forgiven if you thought it was. Yet Bob Mould puts a much denser, grungier feel to it and its refrain will stick in your head after only a single listen.

708. The Triffids – “The Seabirds” (Born Sandy Devotional)

Classic track from this Australian band who were noted for their clever and thoughtful lyrics and delicate musicianship.

707. Brand New – “Me Vs Maradona Vs Elvis” (Déjà Entendu)

Brand New are probably the most thoughtful of all emo outfits. This song builds slowly and describes the fear and pain felt by people who are powerless in the face of terminal illness.

706. Madness – “Baggy Trousers” (Absolutely)

The most fun you can have with your clothes on is to go to a Madness gig. At the same time Pink Floyd were slagging off their (private school) with “Another Brick in the Wall, Madness brought some reality with this take on real life in a state school. The video will be forever famous for saxophonist Lee Thompson flying through the air during the sax solo, a feat which is still repeated at all Madness gigs

705. Prokofief, Sergei – “Troika” (Lt Kije Suite)

Next to Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” this is probably the most recognisable classical piece associated with Christmas, though most people probably will not recognise the name. I suppose the Russians do all the best classical Christmas music because of the weather they have.

704. Wilson, Jackie – “I Get the Sweetest Feeling” (I Get the Sweetest Feeling)

Why Jackie Wilson does not get the acclaim which came to so many of his soul contemporaries of the early- to mid-sixties I shall never know. This track shows what a versatile voice he had.

703. Magazine – “Shot by Both Sides” (Real Life)

Said to be based on a political argument between Howard Devoto and his girlfriend, the song was co-written by Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks. It has a frenzied urgency about it which is hard to achieve judging by those who have tried and failed.

702. The Police – “Every Breath You Take” (Synchronicity)

Many thought this was a love song – in fact it is about a stalker. Probably the best thing the Police did outside of their first album.

701. The Hooters – “Satellite” (One Way Home)

This song will forever remind me of an episode of “Miami Vice” (probably the only one I ever watched all the way through) where the great Brian Dennehy played a TV Evangelist engaged in a turf war with another TV Evangelist.

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