Sunday, August 19, 2007

Morning Of Our Lives/Roadrunner

Play Roadrunner here:


This is quite a long story...

Regular readers of this blog will know that Mum used to run a corner shop in Plymouth very close to Home Park in Peverell where we lived (Quarry Park Road should you want to multimap it). One day a rep came in and she started stocking singles. They were all out of date and mostly very obscure. Stock unsold in proper record shops probably and deleted ~ in those days music, singles especially, tended to be available in record shops for a very short time and then they were gone unless they were on an LP (IPs used to hang around quite a bit longer).

Anyway I always used to browse... I can only remember ever getting the singles Emma by Hot Chocolate, something by The Bernie Tormé Band which I can't remember the name of and The Morning Of Our Lives by Johnathan Richman and the Modern Lovers. The B-side had a fantastic 8 minute plus version of Roadrunner; I have always assumed that the A- and B-side came from the same gig and the A-side was featured on the classic Modern Lovers Live In London so Roadrunner must have been recorded then, too. Forget the other versions of Roadrunner (and there are loads of them) - this is the best one by far.

Play Morning Of Our Lives here:

At the time JR was on Beserekely records ("The Home Of The Hits" ho ho ho) in this country. Roadrunner had been a big hit in terms of radio play (always put "radio" in a song if you want it played on the radio) if not in terms of sales. A few albums were obviously shifted too and the elder brother of a friend introduced me to Modern Lovers Live In London some time later which had his other hit single on it Egyptian Reggae (which I hated) . At the time it was a monster hit. I remember Pans People doing the old Egyptian dancing thing on TOTP. Shame the man himself couldn't make it.

Wind the years forward a bit (about 10 years)...

Whilst at College in the mid 80s I met somebody else who was a JR fan,too. I was not alone!! He introduced me to his earlier Velvet Undergroundy stuff (Pablo Picasso, Astral Plane et al) which I seemed like it came from a different planet. I even got to see JR & TML at a local festival (Elephant Fayre) around then whilst he was doing his doo-wop-and-stripped-right-back-Rock- n-Roll stuff. At the performance I saw The Modern Lovers consisted of a female backing singer and a stand up double bassist. No "Leroy, and Asa and D Sharpe" which disappointed alittle. Where any drumming was required JR just stamped on the stage or tapped the body of his acoustic guitar. This was "unplugged" in the truest possible sense long before MTV got the idea. Like I said I saw him at a festival and he was nowhere on the bill and on stage mid-afternoon. I went with a mate called and his girlfriend. He hated it completely. I can remember him whining all the way through "he's crap, let's go and see someone good, just what do you see in this guy?" meanwhile I'm singing and dancing away with her and she had never heard of him until then which just made my buddy even more fed up with the show. She was a cracking girl and wasted on him but I digress....

I left College, moved around a bit and ended up living back at home, no longer in Peverell, and one day disaster struck. I'd played the single in my bedroom. My Mum came in. I'd left it on the floor. She did not see it. It was trodden upon and ruined. It was ruined before in all honesty due to being played to death but now it had a big crack running through it...

Since then I have been looking constantly to replace those songs. Shops, market stalls, websites, record fairs and the like have all been relentlessly examined. I found The Morning Of Our Lives on a CD called 23 Great Recordings By Johnathan Richman and The Modern Lovers which is as comprehensive a batch of "hits" (such as they are) going waaaaaay back as you are likely to find. I also got hold of Live In London from a Derby record shop wia their website. I now had Morning Of Our Lives twice but still no Roadrunner.

I have bought other CDs and LPs of his at various times but some of them have been really ropey. You can listen to some of them and wonder why on Earth anybody would ever buy that? but then there are others which are just so brilliant it's untrue. I love his openness about his emotions. Most just acknowledge their emotions but he hugs them and gives them full rein in an almost, but not quite, mawkish and sentimental way. No that's wrong. Mawkish and sentimental is exactly what he does but somehow it works. No other performer compares in any meaningful way.

I recently compiled a CD of my fave songs and play it in the car. My son, who is 9, loves I'm A Little Airplane, Hey There Little Insect, Ice Cream Man and a bit more worryingly The Neighbours...

Anyway recently the impossible happened and articles in The Guardian about the song Roadrunner have appeared (I also found an interview):

  • An Old Interview With JR

  • Laura Barton Column

  • She Actually Went To Massachusetts!!

  • Well can you imagine? I had thought I was the only one even vaguely interested...

    Having searched for years I had to know where to get this song and eventually emailed The Guardian to ask Laura Barton where this song was available to buy and on which CD. They, in reply, put me on to:

  • Amazon - Roadrunner (A round up of various Beserkeley bits & pieces)

  • ...which I was assured has the version of Roadrunner I want and is the only CD release of that song available anywhere. So I ordered it.

    The CD arrived, all the way from the States, on Friday for the princely sum of £5.20!! I am, quite literally, chuffed to bits. It seems daft but this is more important than the start of the football season to me. It's Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one.

    I have since been discovering how to put the songs into this blog. I've figured it out now. I'm sure it infringes copyright but since these songs just are not on-line to buy anywhere, as far as I can tell, and are not even available in this country at all as far as this version of Roadrunner goes I'll take the chance and put them there to be downloaded by anybody who cares (which I expect will be very few!!). I'll remove them if there is a complaint.

    Download Roadrunner

    Download The Morning of Our Lives

    If that isn't the best single over both sides ever released then I do not know what was.

    Thank you for reading.

    Bye Bye.


    Saturday, August 18, 2007

    Why Baba?


    Click the above.