#29 The Cortinas – Fascist Dictator (1977)

Not in the mood for any musings or content here – I’m too angry. This one is in “honour” of PM Rajoy’s Spanish government, and their fascistic crackdown, using riot police, on unarmed civilians, (men, women and young people), who are trying to vote in Catalonia. The fascist philosophy of Franco clearly lives on in Madrid. Rubber bullets and batons will never beat democracy, you utter tossers.

cortinas

#28 Rocket Men – Rocket Man (1974)

I decided to post this because the name of the song is topical right now. “Rocket Man”. As in the insult that Donald Trump, the orange-tinted and crypto-fascist President of the US, recently used against Kim Jong-Un, the bat-shit-crazy and portly dictator of North Korea. Seems as good a reason as any. Rocket Men were also the same group as “Rockets”, “Rok-Etz” and “The Rocketerrs”, a French glam and space disco combo from Paris, who appear to have alternated between these names over the years. (In fact, as “The Rocketerrs”, they released a more rocky version of this single in the same year). This song, B-sided by the instrumental version, is a trashy, junkshop glam, electronic disco number, which has the feeling of a novelty record. Nevertheless, it’s a good ‘un. I first heard the record on the Killed by Glam – 14 Euro Glam Rock Gems compilation on Moon Boot Records, and it was the perfect way to kick-off the A-side. The song presaged the band’s most successful era, as “Rockets”, from 1977-1982.

rocket

#27 The Raindrops – Hanky Panky (1963)

The Raindrops were a 1960s pop group from New York, associated with the so-called “Brill Building” style of 60s pop. This term referred to pop song-writing which originated in the Brill Building in New York City, where numerous teams of professional songwriters penned material for 1960s pop groups. The term has also become a catch-all for the period in which those songwriting teams flourished.

The Raindrops existed from 1963 to 1965, and was made up of Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, who were also both famous songwriters in the Brill Building mode. Barry and Greenwich wrote Hanky Panky when they were in the middle of a recording session for the Raindrops, and realised that they needed a B-side to the single, That Boy John. Legend has it that they penned this song, Hanky Panky, in 20 minutes. Some unkind souls might say that it sounds as though they had spent only that amount of time on it, because it is an unbelievably straightforward piece of music – but that’s kind of the point…It’s a lightweight, fun, smutty piece of candyfloss 60s pop, which gets people on the dancefloor. Job done. Even Barry and Greenwich themselves, however, were among those who didn’t rate the song, and deemed it inferior to the rest of their work. Barry commented to Billboard’s Fred Bronson that, “As far as I was concerned it was a terrible song. In my mind it wasn’t written to be a song, just a B-side.”  (The status of the B-Side has surely never been so cruelly dismissed!) Nevertheless, I love it, and I’m not the only one, because the song has been covered a few times, by the likes of Tommy James & Shondells, and the Summits, to name but two.

rain

#26 La Düsseldorf – White Overalls (1978)

La Düsseldorf were a German Krautrock band, who released three albums in their lifetime. The band, which was made up of former Kraftwerk drummer and Neu! multi-instrumentalist, Klaus Dinger, and Neu! collaborators Thomas Dinger and Hans Lampe, came together after the break-up of the legendary Neu! in 1975.

This track, White Overalls, is taken from the band’s second album, Viva, released in 1978 on Teldec Records. A proto-punk sensibility had first begun to develop on Neu!’s Neu! 75 album, and White Overalls represents an interesting point in time, when Krautrock began to cross over more fully into New Wave, with washed-out synthesizer sounds combining with trademark Krautrock 4/4 Motorik rhythms. Indeed, there is an unmistakable Plastic Bertrand sound to the song, but there are also still influences from a previous era working away too – namely Roxy Music. (There seemed to be a mutual love-in at work, because Brian Eno considered the band to be influential on him). Great stuff.

 

viva

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