Tuesday, 21 April 2015

No. 22 Badly Drawn Boy - Once Around The Block

I was reminded of Badly Drawn Boy twice this week. Once by the campaign surrounding the 15 year anniversary reissue of The Hour of the Bewilderbeast, the album that followed (and included) this single. Then it was announced Damien Gough would be touring this album to mark the occasion, as has become the fashion in these times. 

When this was released, I was pretty impressed by Badly Drawn Boy. Peel had been enthusiastically playing his early releases, which I'd grown to like, and so I snapped up this, his breakthrough single (it reached number 46 in the UK national chart). My enthusiasm waned pretty quickly after I saw what I still count to this day as the possibly the worst gig I have ever witnessed. He was touring the above mentioned (pretty solid) album and played Sheffield University's Foundry. The gig was an utter shambles - Gough had already consumed much of a bottle of Jack Daniels by the time he took to the stage and he'd finished it long before the gig ended. I honestly don't think he performed a single song that didn't disappoint. My mood wasn't improved when, just before the gig began, a huge crusty with the most enormous hair imaginable, decided to stand right in front of me. It quickly became apparent that he was also much the worse for wear and I spent the gig wondering when he might collapse on me, though on refection this might have at least put me out of my misery. It remains one of the very few times I've walked out (or at least retreated to the bar next door) during a headline set. A sad end to my enthusiasm really, as this remains a lovely tune, one of his best.

Friday, 10 April 2015

No. 21 Babes In Toyland - Bruise Violet

If I was pressed to pick out only ten of my 7" singles to keep, this would almost certainly make the cut, for a number of reasons.

1) It's a grunge classic. Babes In Toyland were as good live as any of the bands of that era, and this, from their second album, Fontanelle, must surely rate as one of their finest songs.

2) There are two b-sides, Gone and Magick Flute. The latter is one of drummer, Lori Barbero's excellent and all too infrequent contributions to their output.

3) It's on violet vinyl - pretty cool, huh?

4) A Babes in Toyland gig was the first date for my wife and I, way back in 1993 - Bradford Queens Hall to be precise, supported by Truman's Water. 

I'm genuinely saddened that I don't own more of Babes In Toyland's 7" singles -  I missed out at the time and they seem to fetch pretty crazy prices these days. They were an important and perhaps under-rated part of the grunge scene; even Mark Yarm's brilliant if scathing Everybody Loves Our Town, doesn't manage to diminish their contribution too much.