Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Clap your hands say yeah

A few weeks ago I was searching through the stalls at my favourite junk market. It's all packed into a fairly large building that I imagine was once a factory or mill of some kind. I always try to give myself at least three hours or so - the amount of stuff in there is slightly mindblowing - it's like this is where they've stashed the twentieth century: Pickelhauben, sheet music, lawnmowers, so many books it makes my head spin. I've picked up a few things other than books or albums there but I confess it's the very cheap second hand vinyl that is the main draw for me.

On this occasion I had at last chased down "Tusk" and picked up "Skullfuck" by the Walkingseeds into the bargain (another of Julian Cope's hot tips, will I never learn?). As I stood in the exceptionally long queue waiting to pay a tune drifted down from an invisible tannoy. It was naggingly familiar and yet so good that had I heard it before I would have made a point of acquiring it. Anyway, it contained a pretty bold phrase so I knew it'd be no trouble to track as soon as I got to the internet. And so it proved. This is the track:

Tommy James and the Shondells: Crimson and Clover

When I looked it up the familiarity was explained - it's the same riff as "Sweet Jane". I'm hopeless at things like that, I could never hear the "Sympathy for the Devil" bassline in "Loaded" for instance. As well as this fascinating nugget I also found out Tommy and the Shondells were responsible for "Mony Mony". I was of course aware of this song through the Billy Idol version and I've even got the Celia and the Mutations version somewhere. I'd always assumed the original was an old Motown number.

Anyway I found this and was so struck by it I decided that it was going to be the first embedded thingy to grace the blog. I like Billy Idol as much as the next man, but the raucous funkiness of the original leaves him sounding very plastic in comparison. And check out Tommy's jacket - you've got to admire the man for carrying that off so well with the beads. And I love his jerky little dance - he's helped out slightly I think by some editing - like everybody looks like a good dancer under strobe lights. He comes over very Ian Svenonius, which is to say very cool indeed.


  1. I didn't notice the sweet jane riff until you mentioned it, that may be why I always liked this song. The first version I heard was by Joan Jett.
    Your junk market sounds like a place worth a visit.

  2. Yes, if you're ever passing through the boondocks of Lancashire check it out.

  3. Good god Artog, used to come down to Chorley, one of my sites was there. Stayed at the Tickled Trout off the motorway at Preston.

  4. Well, well - it is a small world. When I'm in the area I drive up from the other side, from down in Shevington. A nice part of the world, blighted only by the fact that it's the desolation of my mother in law.