The Beat Goes On: genius from Prefab Sprout and XTC, fashion advice from Gogol Bordello

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At last! After a six-month sabbatical, the slacker who edits this website has finally roused himself and relaunched And And! And: the Ultimate Guide to Band Names … now accompanied by a new regular radio show featuring a quirky, eclectic selection of good music.

The Beat Goes On was launched this week (Wednesday 27 June) on Kennet Radio, a community radio station in Berkshire, England, on 106.7 FM (no static at all … well, not much). You can listen to the first show any time online by following this link to Mixcloud.

If you don’t want to listen to the whole thing, this two-part blogpost contains a full playlist and cool links to all the music.

Enjoy the show!

Wrecking Crew bass player Carol Kaye came up with the syncopated bass line that is the really compelling thing about this song. After he fatally skied into a tree in 1998, Congressman Sonny Bono’s widow inscribed his gravestone with “And The Beat Goes On”, which is actually a song by The Whispers. Serves him right for pronouncing reminisce “rem-O-niss” and keeping the best lines to himself (“Men still keep on marching off to war”) while forcing poor Cher to sing “Electrically they keep the baseball score”. However, she still performs the song today. Truly, The Beat Goes On.

More syncopation on the bass line and piano, a lovely melody, brilliant lyrics, what more could you want? Recorded in 1993 but not released until 2009. Paddy McAloon namechecks Nile Rodgers, Miles Davis and Pierre Boulez, and rhymes “heroine” with “the unnerving, unswerving Irving Berlin”. The man’s a genius. And what about that synth harp at the end! Sublime.

Lou Reed: “Rock & Roll is about me. If I hadn’t heard rock’nroll on the radio, I would have had no idea there was life on this planet!” From the 1970 album Loaded.

Sound fashion advice and a fine video from the New York gypsy punks, who changed their name to Gogol Bordello from Eugene Hütz and The Béla Bártoks, according to Hütz, because “nobody in the US knows who the hell Béla Bartók was”. (But they all know who Gogol was?) Before that, Eugene was in bands called The Fags, then Flying Fuck. He knows how to pick a band name.

It’s 50 years since Elvis recorded his “Comeback Special“, showing he could still cut it after all those years of making schlocky movies. Great chops and banter between Elvis, Scotty Moore and the rest of the guys, plus screams from a couple of girls who positioned themselves nice and close to the microphone just to annoy us for the next half century. I love the way the band don’t know how to finish the song. The parody of MacArthur Park at the end suggests Elvis was not the biggest fan of Jimmy Webb’s epic.

From The King, to King for a Day. A superb Colin Moulding song from the 1989 album Oranges & Lemons. It reached only No 89 in the UK charts, a criminal indictment of the record-buying public. Swindon’s finest showing once again why they are one of the very best British bands, ever, with or without the silly hats.

Eccentric 2010 offering by Jim Jupp from the album Welcome to Godalming. Belbury Poly is an institution in That Hideous Strength, a 1945 sci-fi novel by CS Lewis. It’s probably been upgraded to the University of Belbury by now.

Another great single (it reached No 64 in 2011) from the indie outfit who met at a posh boys’ school in Hampstead, north London. Bombay Bicycle Club, a big improvement on their initial name The Canals, was a US chain of Indian restaurants.

I have loved this song for 48 years but until I played it on my show, I had never heard it on the radio. From the excellent (even if the critics hated it) second Alice Cooper album, Easy Action, when they were a proper band, not just a bloke with a snake.

A very cool track from a very cool album, Year of Meteors (2005). The wonderful Laura Veirs may look like a 1950s schoolteacher, but she was once a riot grrrl you know, in a band called Rair Kx!

One minute and 33 seconds of whimsy from Procol Harum, the flipside of Homburg, their underrated 1967 follow-up to A Whiter Shade of Pale. This was a cult record for my mates and me at school, partly because of the lyrics – “see the naked lumberjack/sip his aphrodisiac” – and partly because of the title, which for no particular reason we found hilarious.

If you like this, I recommend Wallpaper for the Soul, the French band’s splendid 2002 album. If you don’t like it, I recommend a visit to your nearest tin ear clinic. The vocal by Xavier Boyer is, as always, magnifique. Tahiti 80, incidentally, was a slogan on one of his dad’s old T-shirts.

From their first “proper” album, which The Beta Band hated, demonstrating that the artists are not necessarily the best judges of their own work, because it’s great. Featured in the soundtrack of the 2002 movie Igby Goes Down.

Coming soon: the second half of the show, featuring The Pretenders, The Monkees, The Barbarians, and lots more!

 

 

 

Last modified: July 1, 2018

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