My selection of Lost Tunes are selected from my iPod, songs which would be absolute classics if people bothered to dig for them. I had planned on using a track of David Bowie’s from ‘Labyrinth’ (I’d have used ‘As the World Falls Down’) but Chloe Gynne beat me to it in her edition of Lost Tunes last week (damn you). My pickings are rare covers, unheard covers, lost solos and just tragically lost in time.
#1: Poison Ivy – The Lambrettas
We are the mods! ‘Poison Ivy’ is a scooter dance tune at its finest. If you have even an inkling of what a scooter boy party is like, you’ll know that this, along with many other ska, reggae, Northern Soul and Motown lost gems are hugely celebrated. The track is light-hearted and bouncy with lyrics like “She’s pretty as a daisy, but look out man, she’s crazy!” There’s a sense of the Madness-esque humour in the lyrics that are fun without going all out Jedward-style.
#2: A Girl Like You – Miles Kane
A cover of Edwyn Collins’ 1994 Northern Soul inspired track. Collins’ original single peaked at #4 in UK charts and stayed in the charts for a massive 14 weeks. Miles released the cover on 7” vinyl as part of Record Store Day 2011, it was recorded in Edwyn’s own studio in North London and produced by Edwyn’s long term friend and engineer Sebastian Lewsley. The flare of Northern Soul revival fused with Kane’s mod ethos is a perfect combination to bring the 60s rushing back in to Vogue. Personally, I love the cover because we hear a real sensuality to Miles’ voice which entices.
#3: 1939 Returning – Pete Doherty
Pete Doherty’s heart and soul is out there for all to hear on his solo album ‘Graceland/Wasteland’ and a real heart-rending example would have to be ‘1939 Returning’. The story of World War II is told stunningly, in the poetic style that is typical of Doherty. “Homes for the old where pills aren’t the only blues.” I fail to see how anybody would feel the sentiment within the soft melody and graceful lyrics and not be touched by them. The track is totally unexpected from the same Pete Doherty who is splashed across the media as being a rebel without a cause, a drug-fuelled idiot, etc. Instead these words scream sensitivity, beauty and misunderstanding.
#4: Still A Long Way To Go – James Dean Bradfield
James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers’ solo album ‘The Great Western’ is without a doubt one of the biggest changes of direction for a band member to take when producing solo work. When compared with Manic Street Preachers’ loud, brash and we-hate-everything attitude to political rock (well in the early 90s anyway), ‘Still A Long Way To Go’ is subdued, understated and beautiful. James Dean Bradfield’s voice is breathtaking and is showcased in full splendour in this track lost in time. The song gives a sense of personal struggle to get through a bad time, which is a sobering reminder of the still missing Richey Edwards who is sorely missed by the band; whether that was a conscious decision or not is still to be seen, but the idea of it really sets the already wonderful song in a league of its own.
#5 Suicide Alley – Manic Street Preachers
‘Suicide Alley’ is Manic Street Preachers’ first demo; the track dates before Richey Edwards joined the band. The track is close to home and incredibly raw, when the band tried to replicate The Clash and Sex Pistols’ punk revolutionary style. The name is derived from a nicknamed alley in their home of the Welsh village Blackwood. The young feel of it is what makes it so genius, that a band with such humble bedroom-practise beginnings can become so massive and record such iconic anthems as ‘A Design for Life’. ‘Suicide Alley’ is hope for all those young bands out there who just want to be like their heroes.