Selfish one, why keep your love to yourself?

There’s something uniquely dispiriting about seeing your home team dicked again by a team of journeymen in a cavernously empty ‘Holm of rugby.

No one there to see it, except a TV audience of millions. I’m really fed up of all this…

Stick some music on.

Boddie Recordings

The Boy somehow magiked up this quite wonderful boxset for me as a Christmas present (“It was easy – I just Googled ‘weird shit’”), which is a gorgeously garage-y soul collection from sixties and seventies Cleveland, full of rough, earnest classics that no one ever heard. Listen…

(I love the line about each record taking a full four minutes to create…)

There’s something quite heroic about Thomas Boddie’s exploits – by day repairing organs and by night recording over 10,000 hours of music and running a label with his wife for over 20 years, “his prices the lowest in town”.


From listening to this, it’ll not be a surprise that the collection is something of a mixed bag of ragged and earnest recordings by bands that never made it or never really were it in the first place. But, believe me, there are some beauties and some belters here. The track that plays beneath the opening to the video is “The Pusher” by a group of hopefuls known (by transcription error) as the Inter Circle. The liner notes refer to Boyce Walker Jr’s guitar as “porn-whisked” which I rather like, but the cluttered, overexcited drumming is also something to behold. Created as a dark “tribute” to a local anti-hero, its B-side is similarly themed and titled “The Players”. It’s just as grimy but dominated by a rich, florid organ sound and swings like a pimp’s bellbottoms.

But really the whole collection is full of this sort of thing – an impressive 3-cd or 5-LP stash, packaged beautifully and blessed with more coverage of the obscure hopefuls behind each record than they ever will have received in their day.

In stark contrast to their white punk counterparts of the day, I can find absolutely no video content of any of the bands in the collection, which is a rotten shame. There are the studio recordings but no actual footage, so you might as well go to the Bandcamp page to stream the whole boxset (I’d recommend both the blistering Creations Unlimited tracks there, at the very least).

When you do, you might notice that although the CD set is currently sold out, there’s an intriguing six-track acetate collection, of three completely unknown artists who wandered in, cut a pair of tracks each and disappeared (in every sense – the Boddie record-keeping seems to have been a little … haphazard).

Love this track, all the more tragic for its impenetrable obscurity…

It’s like a souvenir that just sits on the shelf…

And here comes a man with a paper and a pen…

In a lost hour cruising the neon interstates of YouTube, last night, I came across this.

(I was tempted to say I ‘d been stalking coming, new bands, attempting to retrieve an already battered reputation for being “relevant” – although God knows what that means these day.

But alas, no, I was looking for Del Shannon videos… more of him later.)

Anyway watch this:

I’ve loved this song since reading the chapter on the Band in “Mystery Train”. Marcus called it possibly their best song and on the back of it I went out and bought the Brown Album. I’d say it’s probably my favourite Band song of them all but I’d have to caveat that because the scarcely believable truth is that there are two or three other songs on that whole remarkable album that are right up there with it.

I also learned yesterday that Eric Clapton flew out to Big Pink after hearing the first album to meet the band. The story is that, already bored of Cream, he was actually looking to inveigle his way into the group, if necessary as a second guitarist. Wouldn’t you have loved to be a fly on the log cabin wall as Clapton rocked up in his pink bellbottom jeans wanting to meet the men behind Music from the Big Pink and the partially emerging Basement Tapes?

“And so I went up to jam with them, and I show up with all this paraphernalia on, the guys are all in work clothes, and I thought, well, are we going to jam? They said, ‘We don’t jam, we write songs and play the songs.’”

To their eternal credit, Clapton didn’t really penetrate such a tightly-knit group of workmen-musicians (he later said they were like members of the Hole in the Wall Gang) and I like to believe that as far as they were concerned, he just didn’t really cut it. I’m not sure I care to imagine what would have become of the Band with a feckless superstar like Clapton in their midst and I’m hugely appreciative that their sanctity was preserved.

We’d never have had anything like this, for sure.

And there’s so much to love about it, from Richard Manuel’s suffering vocals, a pitiful call from the heart of old America to Robertson’s fierce, wiry guitar outro (although, remarkably, it’s still not quite the match of his lithe, weary recorded version); from Levon Helm’s splendid, sinewy drumming (incredible to think that at times he effectively shared the drumming duties with Manuel) to Garth Hudson’s emphatic flicking of the last switch on his organ as the song finishes. And those dark, looming chorus lines…

Happy Sunday everyone…