Sunday, December 9, 2018

Little Loser's Lottery - Part 12 (for Brian)

Hello friends,

it's been a while, isn't it? The reason for this post is simple, and the handful of you who read this will be pleased to learn that this triumphant return of 'Little Loser's Lottery' is entirely the fault of Brian - out of 'Linear Tracking Lives'.

I was in conversation with him yesterday about the merits of Strawberry Switchblade and while we were at it, he questioned whether Little Loser might or might not already be too old to do another one of his lotteries.

Now, as we Germans automatically are used to do what Americans tell us to do (WW II, American occupation zone, your will is my command … you know the story), I immediately asked Little Loser (ten by now, and I never would have believed that puberty starts with ten these days. Now I know better, but thanks for asking!) and - believe it or not - he managed to pause Fortnite for a minute and picked five records out of the distressing rest of my collection, more or less with closed eyes.

I just looked that up: it is an embarrassing three and a half years since he did this for the last time and his luck has not left him by and large. I mean, the picks could have been better of course, but they could also have been much worse, I must say. It's mainly albums, so I chose what I considered to be the best tune out of the specific picks.

Here's what he came up with, friends:

1) Carmel - 'The Drum Is Everything' (Liberation Records '84)

Okay, I think I haven't listened to this once since …. 1984, I would guess. Still three of the tracks still rang a bell with me after all these years, I knew they were rather fine. 'More, More, More', 'The Drum Is Everything' and 'Rockin' On Suicide'. I went for the title track, so here's Carmel:

2) Hank Wangford - 'Stormy Horizons' (Sincere Sounds '90)

Isn't it strange how some records end up in your collection, records which you are endlessly ashamed of some decades later? This is the case here, because the record is goddamn awful by and large. But there is a reason why I have it: years and years ago I bought a Beggars Banquet Label - compilation, the title of which now escapes me, and one of the tunes on it was by Hank Wankford: 'Never Wear Mascara (When You Love A Married Man)'. A sound advice of course, but I digress. Now, this track was so good that a few years later apparently I couldn't resist to buy this album here. I think it's fair to say though that this was a crucial mistake, I just flickered through the songs again in order to find the least disappointing one. And as we DJ's know: Side A, Track A is always the safest, so here you are:

3) The Pogues - 'Red Roses For Me' (Stiff Records '84)

Yes, well done, Little Loser! Another one I haven't listened to for much too long (contrary to their second album, which finds itself on the turntable quite often, don't know why this is). Who would have thought at the time that Shane McGowan is still alive (albeit not kicking in one form or another) in 2018? Not me, that's for sure! And it only took me a second to decide what's the best song on this album, it's this one in fact:

4) The Wild Swans - 'Revolutionary Spirit' (Zoo Records '82)

Which goes to show that Little Loser apparently also has an appetite for fine art: I'm sure his eyes were not fully closed and he liked the sleeve, which shows 'The Lament for Icarus' by H.J. Draper. A total classic, of course (the tune, not the drawing), and it's always fine to hear it again once in a while. One would think that this record is a bit of collectors' item these days, but apparently this isn't the case: you get it on discogs for the value of a lunchbreak at McDonalds. For one person. A shame, really, because it's outstandingly good, this!

5) Various Artists - 'Submarine Tracks & Fool's Gold - Chiswick Chartbusters Volume One' (Chiswick Records '77)

Of course there can't be an argument about what is the best track on this compilation: The 101'ers' 'Keys To Your Heart'. Which, in my humble opinion, is better than a lot of Clash - tunes in fact! But everybody knows this by heart by now, so I decided to go for the other number The 101'ers are featured with on this compilation. Perhaps this brightens your horizon or something, if not, it's not a bad tune either, I think. Obviously I'm too young to know, but I'm sure people having heard this at the time it came out (June 1976) would have thought: "Boy, this guy Strummer has a remarkable voice, perhaps I should pay good attention to what he does in the future." And, as we all know, except for George, they would have been quite right in doing so:

And that's it for this week, friends. Hope you enjoyed Little Loser's picks. I'm convinced that if you tell him in the comment section, he might have another go fairly soon.

All the best, and if we don't speak before: have a very happy Christmas!



Walter said...

Well done Little Loser. Thank for bringing back some old records to my attention and you're welcome back real soon. In fact that I leave tomorrow: have a very happy Christmas

Brian said...

The lad'a still got it! If he had seen the American album cover for that one by Carmel he never would have chosen it. Why the label decided to change that tasteful illustration is a real travesty. His best choice, obviously, was the Wild Swans. A classic cover and one of the greatest singles ever. Always a pleasure to read something here, Dirk.

Brian said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family, Dirk.

Swiss Adam said...

Excellent work Dirk (and not so little loser). Revolutionary Spirit is indeed the pick of the bunch.

Echorich said...

WIld Swans and the terribly underrated Carmel! I agree with Brian, that Serge Clerc cover is a classic all its own!

JC said...

Of course I had no idea about this when I put up The Wild Swans at my place over Xmas!!!!

LL has taste. Very entertaining choices....and don't be too hard on Hank Wangford...he did some great stuff alongside Billy Bragg back in the day that still sounds good.

Jez said...

Welcome back to the world of blogging Dirk, and especial thanks to Brian for giving you that nudge, and to Little Loser for picking some absolutely top notch tuneage.

Long may this renaissance continue!

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Jez said...

Just in case you still get notifications: Happy New Year Dirk. Looking forward to some of your usual brilliant Chain suggestions in 2020

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Brian said...

Happy Christmas, Dirk. It has been too long. My best to your family. Take care.