Sweet title, isn't it? Very fetching. More about my faves The Sweet later.
Village Green Machine news is, we got in and recorded yet another new song, this one is about the terrible human trait of insensitivity towards other peoples feelings, especially about how much one can make others suffer without having a clue what they're going through. I feel very strongly about this. I have been through a lot of shit thanks to the deep character fault of insensitivity and lack of consciousness of my feelings and I surely too have dished out some shit without realising how much it hurt. I am deeply regretful. So, we got in to do the song and my head wasn't in the right place to get much down on tape, as you may know I get problems at times with OCD. It ain't too bad, but it can trip me up and Monday was not a good day. The guitar playing was suffering. In the end I said right, lets record the truth of what is happening to me and my music, in one take only, and its got to stay on the song. So it went- really intense rhythm guitar. The song itself is influenced by early Who. I put my Epiphone Casino through the AC30.
All my frustration was in the take - and this forceful anger which breaks through, its like fighting my way out of something. We got a good take, and it suited the track really well. I hate talking about such personal things really on a blog but I suppose I am not alone, guess what I'm not perfect! People know behind their facade that they are not. There's no point in kidding. Some people though bang on about 'loving yourself', you must etc. I don't know, its a funny one. CS Lewis the theologian explored the relationship between psychoanalysis and religion, in as much as he highlighted the contradiction between the problems of low self esteem, which analysis seeks sometimes to raise, and the fact he saw humans as dirty creatures who were nothing compared to God, who (the dirty creatures) had to improve so much. Actually Christianity emphasises self improvement, therapy encourages self love without consideration of how vile one may actually be. That is what I tiredly and clumsily was trying to say a few lines back.
I put my hands together literally when I think about pop. Although I have documented my love of 1960s music often, I've perhaps been a little pensive in expressing my appreciation of 70s music. I talked about 80s music, raking over a lot of old coals and bringing a few gems to the forefront. But the 70s, well I haven't talked a lot about it except for saying I like the Bay City Rollers. I know, its social suicide but then I'm a Warholian, I believe trash can be art and wasn't it Mr Rodney who played The Rollers at his cool American glam club? Or was that Mud? I like them too. No not the terrible clothes, but actually with respect to Mr Les Gray and his band, they really knew how to have a great time, and of course that is infectious. I like their records Tiger Feet and especially Dyna-Mite, that is a great pop record. Just fantastic. Yes they wore shit clothes and one of them was ultra camp, hey can I put a clip of them on, from the early 70s, innocent times. My other favourite bands of the era are Slade, Sweet and T Rex. More in a future blog on these great bands. Suffice to say anyone with a serious interest in great pop from the past should get good compilations by these bands at the very least, and maybe some original 45s.
The Sweet were 4 blokey blokes who were into metal, hard rock, who met with bubblegum pop producers and songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. This collision resulted in some of the best British pop records of all time, and at the time was surely avant garde. The Chinnichap production team were the best commercial writers of their day and the best producers. The Sweet were incredible musicians and singers, their hard rock sensibilities warped into pure sherbert trash 45 mass fodder- for little kids, lets be honest. But the records were something else. It was just so brilliantly done. The Sweet had 2 all time heroes of mine, Mr Brian Connolly on lead vocals and Mick Tucker on tribal pounding drums, both no longer with us. With Andy Scott and Steve Priest they dressed in full glam stage wear befitting the era. The records were very creatively produced and were masterpieces of their kind. Ofcourse the lyrics were pretty daft, Wig Wam Bam, Blockbuster, Ballroom Blitz and so on, it wasn't Dylan or Shakeaspeare. But they were powerful, pounding, sexy, exciting records, packed with great melodies and great singing and playing. Some 70s pop was a bit feeble, but Sweets was powerful, there was no slack, and the kids went wild. I had a CD comp on earlier loud in the car, they had at least half a dozen real killers and several more really good ones. I like the early ones like Funny funny and Co Co, but then it starts to harden up a bit with Poppa Joe, Little Willy and Wig Wam Bam. Ofcourse Bolan was changing lives forever with his in my opinion consciously pop art singles, decadent, thrilling and unique. He was worshipped, still is and rightly so as a great, great pop and rock star. Look at the stuff we get now, compared to these bands its nothing. And Slade, were as formidable a band as ever has come along. Was it 6 number ones in a row or something, not sure but pretty sure it was 6 either in a row or not. Absolutely brilliant, ok a bit crude at times, but very magical 45s. It is the demise of such magic that I feel deeply, I care about pop so much as I do because I know its magic and how much it can lift us out of, goodness knows how shit moods and states of mind, its a tonic, a drug almost, a restorative, a life saver... and yet we allow it to be ruined. Or maybe we simply can't stop it being trashed and scuppered by talentless bores who have no comprehension whatsoever of its nature. Its a shame that something so important can be generally ruined. Yet, from the ashes...anyway I see Bolan and Slade as the main competition The Sweet had, and in my opinion their records held up really well against heavyweight competition. Good taste be damned. I think at the time, this unintellectual music was scorned by self aggrandising ''serious music'' fans. Still is. I think it is time pop historians reasess what good taste infact is, and what serious pop music is. There is so much snobbery, perhaps I am a snob in as much as I rate this kitsch pop much more highly than the serious stuff. Perhaps it would be interesting to look at the roots of this 70s bubblegum. With The Sweet, as far as I can see it was at the time extremely modern, unprecedented stuff. Bubblegum hard rock - and I mean really hard rock meets really trashy bubblegum which even the Archies would have been embarrassed to record- that was new and remains unique. Sweet riummer Mick Tucker was influenced by tribal drumming genius Sandy Nelson. Slade, evidently were hard rockers wiith incredible songwriting skill and talent, their records were basic, primal, very much uncompromised. They had a blues rock style, with so much gusto and celebration, their records were organic savagery. I think they were influenced by Little Richard and The Beatles, the reappraisal of their music in one magazine suggested they were on a par with the Pistols and The Beatles, I agree. Dave Hill had such a great time, always happy onstage. T Rex, with Tony Visconti producing seemed to bring an almost 60s girl group/Phil Spector sensibility to hard rock. But then Bolan was totally unique. I haven't mentioned David Bowie, I regard him as a genius but removed from the kind of music I am talking about here. Generally I think his music belonged with the more serious stuff, but unlike many of those people he was never boring in those days and went to extraordinary places with his art. Having said all this his band Spiders From Mars were another hard rock band, lifted from the mundane by Bowie's extraordinary persona and compositions and Mick Ronson's formidable, direct guitar playing. He played with force and power.
Hello again. I have decided to keep on about The Sweet! Its another day! Last morning, I couldn't get to sleep. The culprit was the video I am going to ask my manager to have added to the end of this Letter From England blogzine. This is The Sweet just pre glam, '72? I LOVE this. I love the way they're all getting down and digging it. Its a fucking great record. Its joy. I couldn't sleep because it aroused me so much, indeed I had to throw a bucked of cold water over myself al 11.00 this morning to calm myself down. Have a look, its at the end of the blog. They're really feeling it, ooh er!
Now it is really beginning to dawn on me I can show you these videos, I really think I can turn you on to some great comedy and music. I will keep asking David my manager to put great clips on of both. Obviously I dig the 60s music and 70s comedy but also early 70s pop.