As Queen were on the verge of topping both the album and singles charts at the end of 1991, the latest issue of Vox magazine was published. Attached to that December 1991 issue was a free cassette - Live and Unreleased - featuring 14 exclusive tracks from the BBC Radio 1 Mark Goodier show. Alongside less remembered names like The Dylans, Milltown Brothers, Paris Angels and Spirea X, the last track on the tape was a stunning version of Everything Flows, a track from Teenage Fanclub’s first album, A Catholic Education. In contrast to the album version, it rips along, and Raymond McGinley’s guitar solos (if you can call them that) are note perfect.
It was, almost certainly, my first taste of Teenage Fanclub; knowing I wanted more I booked an appointment to see the music doctor, who conveniently doubled as my one and only friend of truly grand musical taste.
“You’ll probably like this, then” he said, handing me his copy of Bandwagonesque.
“Great, but I don’t have a CD player yet” I replied, downcast.
“Well, I don’t know, just go and buy it on cassette then, and stop whining”.
So that’s almost certainly what happened. Except that by “almost” I mean “not completely”, and by “certainly” I mean “possibly”. So basically what I’m saying is that not completely possibly I bought Bandwagonesque on cassette shortly after its release. What I do know for sure is that I loved it so much I bought the
company tour poster. Later when I upgraded from twin cassette boombox to hi-fi system, I did what any self-respecting Teenage Fanclub worshipper would have done, and also upgraded that tape to a shiny compact disc.
At the end of 1993 I saw Teenage Fanclub play one of the greatest gigs of my life; in 2000 I saw Teenage Fanclub play one of the greatest encores of my life (Long Hair and Everything Flows). In between they released various albums of greatness using their mastery of the tunesmiths art. They’ve slowed down since the turn of the millennium, and with just two albums in the last 14 years we’re well past peak Teenage Fanclub now, but members of the band have been busy knocking out some excellent work elsewhere: Gerard Love under the name Lightships, and Norman Blake alongside Joe Pernice in The New Mendicants.
There probably won’t be time for me to get to those new projects before the end of the day, but perhaps I’ll be able to add reviews at a later date…
For today, then, here’s the running order. Note that I’m ignoring The King: released not long before Bandwagonesque it’s sometimes dismissed as a contractual obligation album, and even though the band have at some point denied this claim, I’m going to go with it. If nothing else, it adds a pun to the title of Thirteen that wouldn’t work. Oh, also I don’t have a copy of The King to hand…
Sadly this means missing out on a splendid cover of Madonna’s Like a Virgin, so here ya go:
Fun stuff. Anyway - back to the day’s order of events:
- A Catholic Education (1990)
- The Peel Sessions (1991)
- Bandwagonesque (1991)
- Thirteen (1993)
- Grand Prix (1995)
- Songs From Northern Britain (1997)
- Howdy! (2000)
- Man-Made (2005)
- Shadows (2010)
If that lot doesn’t put me in a sunny disposition by the day’s end, I don’t know what will.