Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Guest Post: The Skids "Joy" (1981)




Dear readers, well this is all terribly exciting! For the first time in our site’s nine year history we have a ‘guest reviewer’, the fabulous Kenny Brown, who has written about the excellent under-rated fourth and final Skids album from the early 1980s. If you have a burning desire to read about one of your favouritest albums in print – and it doesn’t have to be an AAA member – then why not drop us a line at the AAA twitter feed @alansarchives. In the meantime our thanks to Kenny for his excellent appraisal of an album I look forward to knowing better now that I’ve read his informative review!

The Skids “Joy” (1981)

Blood and Soil/A Challenge/Men Of Mercy/A Memory/Iona//In Fear Of Fire/Brothers/And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda/The Men Of The Fall/The Sound Of Retreat/Fields


“Joy" is the final studio album by Scottish band The Skids released in 1981. The song writing axis of Richard Jobson and Stuart Adamson had been ever present in a band which had changed rhythm sections on their three albums to date. Going into Highland Studios Inverness in May 81 to begin recording their fourth album the two plus Russell Webb (formally of Scottish band Zones) on bass, were joined for the session by former Slik and Zones drummer Kenny Hyslop. It was to be Adamson’s last session with the band, walking out leaving Jobson and Webb to complete the album.

When the band reconvened later that year it was as a two piece, augmented by many musicians including Mike Oldfield, Billy MacKenzie, Alan Rankine, Alan Darby and Virginia Astley.  The resulting album ‘Joy’ was an attempt to fuse Jobson’s poetic leanings with the use of folk instrumentation. Russell Webb took on the producer’s mantle and delivered a carefully crafted sound that juxtaposed the acoustic with the available technology of the day, largely using emulators for some traditional instruments. The drum sound rarely used traditional rock tropes preferring tom toms, bass and bodhran and electric guitars largely swapped for acoustic.

Context is important in exploring the album’s themes and musical approach. 1980/81 was a time when the Sound of Young Scotland was making itself felt across the land. Fresh angular rock/pop that took its influences from the Velvet Underground and the Modern Lovers seemed ever present. The Skids went against the grain and delivered a muscular acoustic roots album, unashamedly Celtic in its perspective and heightened by the use of Scottish diction in Jobson’s vocal approach.

The first song was ‘Blood and Soil’, one that the band had been playing live during the previous tours. The song has a largely standard structure of many Skids songs but is differentiated by its use of bass guitar to provide rhythm. Jobson sings “we can be taught blood and soil” and is augmented by a studio choir throughout. This is clearly a different Skids to that of “Days in Europa”.

‘A Challenge (The Wanderer)’ is next up with Jobson initially singing unaccompanied but as the song progresses, instrumentation is layered via flute, acoustic guitar and bodhran (an Irish frame drum). His voice is unashamedly Scottish is diction, giving it an authenticity that was refreshing in its difference from most Scottish bands at the time.

‘Men of Mercy’ is a short song accompanied by guitar, drums and choir segueing into ‘A Memory’.  Jobson sings longingly against a background of bodhran, guitar and piano with the regular refrain of “will ye no’ come back again”?  This builds up gradually into a crescendo of acoustic guitars, accompanying voices and finally an acoustic piano augments the music until we hear a solitary snare drum against the wind.

The final song of side 1 is ‘Iona’ (https://youtu.be/yhIkgbSZTdg), which continues the Highland/Jacobite theme of the previous songs. Again instruments are layered over each verse and chorus and it is the most melodic and complete song on the album.  It was to be Stuart Adamson’s last appearance on a Skids song and is worthy of his legacy.

Side two starts with what seems a tape played backwards then a short sea shanty followed by Jobson singing ‘In Fear of Fire’. Soon Webb plays a propulsive bass guitar on the next song ‘Brothers’, which Jobson begins by singing “stood in a field and echoed a thunder”.  It’s rough and ready and with the addition of electric guitar, it might’ve made an earlier Skids record.

‘The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ is a folk song written by Eric Bogle about the failed Anzac incursion at Gallipoli during the Great War. Here Jobson sings plaintively and descriptively, the thoughts of a battle-scarred soldier returning from war, with a help from the accompanying studio choir. It is spine tingling in its simplicity and message.

Completing this suite of songs about war and brotherhood is ‘The Men of the Fall’. Here the full weight of the studio and musicians is felt as Webb builds on Jobson’s voice to accompany each verse with new sonic textures. It is a slow march that is both melancholic and haunting at the same time.

Completing side two is the first single culled from the album, ‘Fields’. This is ‘the Skids unplugged’ with a traditional song structure but using acoustic guitars, bass and traditional drums to carry the song through. Following an acoustic middle section of bodhran and flute the voice of Billy McKenzie soars above the guitars before Jobson and studio choir sing the final verse and chorus. Thus, the album is closed by a song about the land, perfectly book-ending Jobson’s journey celebrating the common man.

Released in November 1981, the album reportedly sold 3000 copies. On the back of such poor sales no touring resulted and the Skids were disbanded. Richard Jobson’s immediate future heralded an artistic period of publishing and touring his poetry ‘For Russell Webb’, he produced the English ambient classic ‘From Gardens Where We Feel Secure’ by Virginia Astley.

‘Joy’ was ultimately a polarising album, one that some felt did not belong in the Skids canon of work, largely due to the absence of Adamson.  It is however a finely produced album and has a narrative, but one that requires patience and listening to get the most from it.  This is a Hygge album for listening in the long nights of winter. I suggest you hunt down a copy, pour a large malt whisky, settle in front of a fire and listen in full to a unique recording.

Kenny Brown

A NOW COMPLETE List Of Top Five/Top Ten/TOP TWENTY  Entries 2008-2019
1) Chronic Fatigue songs http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2008/08/news-views-and-music-issue-1-top-five.html

2) Songs For The Face Of Bo
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3) Credit Crunch Songs
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4) Songs For The Autumn
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5) National Wombat Week
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6) AAA Box Sets
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7) Virus Songs
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8) Worst AAA-Related DVDs
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9) Self-Punctuating Superstar Classics
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10) Ways To Know You Have Turned Into A Collector
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11) Political Songs
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12) Totally Bonkers Concept Albums
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13) Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album
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14) Still Celebrating 40 Years Of The Beatles' White Album
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15) AAA Existential Questions
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16) Releases Of The Year 2008
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17) Top AAA Xmas Songs
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18) Notable AAA Gigs
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19) All things '20' related for our 20th issue
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20) Romantic odes for Valentine's Day
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21) Hollies B sides
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22) 'Other' BBC Session Albums
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23) Beach Boys Rarities Still Not Available On CD
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24) Songs John, Paul and George wrote for Ringo's solo albums
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25) 5 of the Best Rock 'n' Roll Tracks From The Pre-Beatles Era
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26) AAA Autobiographies
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27) Rolling Stones B-sides
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28) Beatles B-Sides
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29) The lllloooonnngggeesssttt AAA songs of all time
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30) Kinks B-Sides
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31) Abandoned CSNY projects 'wasted on the way'
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32) Best AAA Rarities and Outtakes Sets
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33) News We've Missed While We've Been Away
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34) Birthday Songs for our 1st Anniversary
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35) Brightest Album Covers
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36) Biggest Recorded Arguments
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37) Songs About Superheroes
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38) AAA TV Networks That Should Exist
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39) AAA Woodtsock Moments
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40) Top Moments Of The Past Year As Voted For By Readers
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41) Music Segues
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42) AAA Foreign Language Songs
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43) 'Other' Groups In Need Of Re-Mastering
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44) The Kinks Preservation Rock Opera - Was It Really About The Forthcoming UK General Election?
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45) Mono and Stereo Mixes - Biggest Differences
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46) Weirdest Things To Do When A Band Member Leaves
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47) Video Clips Exclusive To Youtube (#1)
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48) Top AAA Releases Of 2009
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49) Songs About Trains
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50) Songs about Winter
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51) Songs about astrology plus horoscopes for selected AAA members
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52) The Worst Five Groups Ever!
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53) The Most Over-Rated AAA Albums
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54) Top AAA Rarities Exclusive To EPs
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55) Random Recent Purchases (#1)
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56) AAA Party Political Slogans
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57) Songs To Celebrate 'Rock Sunday'
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58) Strange But True (?) AAA Ghost Stories
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59) AAA Artists In Song
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60) Songs About Dogs
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61) Sunshiney Songs
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62) The AAA Staff Play Their Own Version Of Monoploy/Mornington Crescent!
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63) What 'Other' British Invasion DVDs We'd Like To See
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64) What We Want To Place In Our AAA Time Capsule
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65) AAA Conspiracy Theroies
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66) Weirdest Things To Do Before - And After - Becoming A Star
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67) Songs To Tweet To
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68) Greatest Ever AAA Solos
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69) John Lennon Musical Tributes
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70) Songs For Halloween
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71) Earliest Examples Of Psychedelia
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72) Purely Instrumental Albums
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73) AAA Utopias

74) AAA Imaginary Bands
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75) Unexpected AAA Cover Versions
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76) Top Releases of 2010
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77) Songs About Snow
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78) Predictions For 2011
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79) AAA Fugitives

80) AAA Home Towns
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81) The Biggest Non-Musical Influences On The 1960s
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82) AAA Groups Covering Other AAA Groups
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83) Strange Censorship Decisions
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84) AAA Albums Still Unreleased on CD
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85) Random Recent Purchases (#2)
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86) Top AAA Music Videos
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87) 30 Day Facebook Music Challenge
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88) AAA Documentaries
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89) Unfinished and 'Lost' AAA Albums
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90) Strangest AAA Album Covers
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91) AAA Performers Live From Mars (!)
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92) Songs Including The Number '100' for our 100th Issue
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93) Most Songs Recorded In A Single Day
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94) Most Revealing AAA Interviews
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95) Top 10 Pre-Fame Recordings
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96) The Shortest And Longest AAA Albums
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97) The AAA Allstars Ultimate Band Line-Up
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98) Top Songs About Sports
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99) AAA Conversations With God
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100) AAA Managers: The Good, The Bad and the Financially Ugly
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101) Unexpected AAA Cameos
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102) AAA Words You can Type Into A Caluclator
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103) AAA Court Cases
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104) Postmodern Songs About Songwriting
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105) Biggest Stylistic Leaps Between Albums
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106) 20 Reasons Why Cameron Should Go!
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107) The AAA Pun-Filled Cookbook
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108) Classic Debut Releases
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109) Five Uses Of Bird Sound Effects
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110) AAA Classic Youtube Clips Part #1
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111) Part #2
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112) Part #3
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113) AAA Facts You Might Not Know
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114) The 20 Rarest AAA Records
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115) AAA Instrumental Songs
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116) Musical Tarot
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117) Christmas Carols
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118) Top AAA Releases Of 2011
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119) AAA Bands In The Beano/The Dandy
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120) Top 20 Guitarists #1
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121) #2
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122) 'Shorty' Nomination Award Questionairre
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123) Top Best-Selling AAA Albums
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124) AAA Songs Featuring Bagpipes

125) A (Hopefully) Complete List Of AAA Musicians On Twitter
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126) Beatles Albums That Might Have Been 1970-74 and 1980
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127) DVD/Computer Games We've Just Invented
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128) The AAA Albums With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK
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129) The AAA Singles With The Most Weeks At #1 in the UK
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130) Lyric Competition (Questions)
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131) Top Crooning Classics
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132) Funeral Songs
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133) AAA Songs For When Your Phone Is On Hold
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134) Random Recent Purchases (#3)
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135) Lyric Competition (Answers)
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http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/news-views-and-music-issue-145-top-five.html

136) Bee Gees Songs/AAA Goes Disco!
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137) The Best AAA Sleevenotes (And Worst)
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138) A Short Precise Of The Years 1962-70
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139) More Wacky AAA-Related Films And Their Soundtracks
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140) AAA Appearances On Desert Island Discs
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141) Songs Exclusive To Live Albums
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142) More AAA Songs About Armageddon
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/aaa-armageddon-songsalbums-top-5-for.html

What difference does a name make? Arguably not much if you’re already a collector of a certain group, for whom the names on the album sleeves just...

This week’s top ten honours the humble motor car. The death trap on wheels, the metaphor for freedom, the put-down of capitalism, a source of...

This week we’re going to have a look at the 10 AAA singles that spent the most weeks at number on the American chart ‘Billboard’ – and it makes for...

Following on from last issue’s study of the American Billboard charts, here’s a look at which AAA albums spent the most weeks on the chart. The...

There are many dying arts in our modern world: incorruptible politicians, faith that things are going to get better and the ability to make decent...

This week we’ve decided to dedicate our top ten to those unsung heroes of music, the session musicians, whose playing often brings AAA artists (and...

Naturally we hold our AAA bands in high esteem in these articles: after all, without their good taste, intelligence and humanity we’d have nothing to...

What do you do when you’ve left a multi-million selling band and yet you still feel the pull of the road and the tours and the playing to audiences...

‘The ATOS Song’ (You’re Not Fit To Live)’ (Mini-Review) Dear readers, we don’t often feature reviews of singles over albums or musicians who aren’t...

In honour of this week’s review of an album released to cash in on a movie soundtrack (only one of these songs actually appears in ‘Easy Rider’...and...

Hic! Everyone raise a glass to the rock stars of the past and to this week’s feature...songs about alcolholic beverages! Yes that’s right, everything...

154) The human singing voice carries with it a vast array of emotions, thoughts that cannot be expressed in any other way except opening the lungs and...

Everyone has a spiritual home, even if they don’t actually live there. Mine is in a windy, rainy city where the weather is always awful but the...

Having a family does funny things to some musicians, as we’ve already seen in this week’s review (surely the only AAA album actually written around...

Some artists just have no idea what their best work really is. One thing that amazes me as a collector is how consistently excellent many of the...

159) A (Not That) Short Guide To The 15 Best Non-AAA Bands http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/a-not-that-short-guide-to-15-of-best.html%20%0d160


160) The Greatest AAA Drum Solos (Or Near Solos!) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-greatest-aaa-drum-solos-or-near.html%20%0d161


161) AAA Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame Acceptance Speeches http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/aaa-rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame.html%20%0d162


162) AAA Re-Recordings Of Past Songs http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/aaa-re-recordings-of-past-songs-news.html%20%0d163


163) A Coalition Christmas (A Fairy Tale) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/a-coalition-christmas-news-views-and.html%20%0d164


164) AAA Songs About Islands http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/aaa-songs-about-islands-news-views-and.html%20%0d165


165) The AAA Review Of The Year 2012 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/the-aaa-review-of-year-2012-news-views.html



166) The Best AAA Concerts I Attended
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/the-best-aaa-concerts-i-attended-news.html


167) Tributes To The 10 AAA Stars Who Died The Youngest http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/tributes-to-10-aaa-stars-who-died.html



168) The First 10 AAA Songs Listed Alphabetically
http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/the-first-10-aaa-songs-if-listed.html


171) The 10 Best Songs From The Psychedelia Box-Sets ‘Nuggets’ and ‘Nuggets Two’ http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/the-best-of-two-nuggets-psychedelia.html%20%0d172

172) The 20 Most Common Girl’s Names In AAA Song Titles (With Definitions) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/girls-names-in-aaa-song-titles-from.html 








180) First Recordings By Future AAA Stars http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/first-





185) A Tribute To Storm Thorgerson Via The Five AAA Bands He Worked With http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/a-tribute-to-hipgnosis-via-five-aaa.html



188) Surprise! Celebrating 300 Album Reviews With The Biggest 'Surprises' Of The Past Five Years Of Alan's Album Archives! http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/celebrating-300-album-reviews-10.html


190) Comparatively Obscure First Compositions By AAA Stars http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/comparatively-obscure-debut.html



193) Evolution Of A Band: Comparing First Lyric With Last Lyric: http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/evolution-of-band-comparing-1st-lyric.html







200) The Monkees In Relation To Postmodernism (University Dissertation) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/university-dissertation-monkees-in.html


202) Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain': Was It About One Of The AAA Crew? http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/carly-simons-youre-so-vain-was-it-about.html















217) AAA 'Christmas Presents' we'd most like to have next year http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/aaa-christmas-presents-wed-most-like-to.html




221) Dr Who and the AAA (Five Musical Links) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/dr-who-and-five-musical-links-to-alans.html

222) Five Random Recent Purchases http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/five-random-recent-purchases-news-views.html

223) AAA Grammy Nominees http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/02/aaa-grammy-nominees-top-twelve-news.html

224) Ten AAA songs that are better heard unedited and in full http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/02/ten-aaa-songs-that-are-better-unedited.html

225) The shortest gaps between AAA albums http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-shortest-gaps-between-aaa-albums.html

226) The longest gaps between AAA albums http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-longest-gaps-between-aaa-albums.html

227) Top ten AAA drummers http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2014/03/top-ten-aaa-drummers-news-views-and.html

228) Top Ten AAA Singles (In Terms of 'A' and 'B' Sides) http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/top-ten-aaa-singles-and-b-sides-news.html

229) The Stories Behind Six AAA Logos http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/the-stories-behind-six-aaa-logos.html

230) AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!! The Best Ten AAA Screams http://www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/the-best-aaa-screams-top-ten-news-views.html

231) An AAA Pack Of Horses http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aaa-songs-about-horses-top-ten-news.html

232) AAA Granamas - Sorry, Anagrams! http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aaa-anagrams-news-views-and-music-issue.html

233) AAA Surnames and Their Meanings http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/aaa-surnames-and-their-meanings-news.html

234) 20 Erroneous AAA Album Titles http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/twenty-erroneous-aaa-album-titles-news.html

235) The Best AAA Orchestral Arrangements http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/fifteen-great-aaa-string-parts-news.html

236) Top 30 Hilariously Misheard Album Titles/Lyrics http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/top-thirty-hilariously-misheard-aaa.html

237) Ten controversial AAA sackings - and whether they were right http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/ten-controversial-aaa-sackings-news.html

238) A Critique On Critiquing - In Response To Brian Wilson http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/a-critique-on-critiquing-in-response-to.html

239) The Ten MusicianS Who've Played On The Most AAA Albums http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/the-ten-musicians-whove-played-on-most.html

240) Thoughts on #CameronMustGo http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/thoughts-on-cameronmustgo.html

241) Random Recent Purchases (Kinks/Grateful Dead/Nils Lofgren/Rolling Stones/Hollies) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/six-random-recent-purchases-kinksg.html 

242) AAA Christmas Number Ones http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/aaa-christmas-number-ones.html 

243) AAA Review Of The Year 2014 (Top Releases/Re-issues/Documentaries/DVDs/Books/Songs/ Articles  plus worst releases of the year) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/aaa-review-of-year-2014.html

244) Me/CFS Awareness Week 2015 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/mecfs-awareness-week-at-alans-album.html

245) Why The Tory 2015 Victory Seems A Little...Suspicious http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/why-tory-victory-seems-deeply.html

246) A Plea For Peace and Tolerance After The Attacks on Paris - and Syria http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/a-plea-for-peace-and-toleration.html

247) AAA Review Of The Year 2015 http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/the-aaa-review-of-year-2015.html

248) The Fifty Most Read AAA Articles (as of December 31st 2015) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2016/01/the-fifty-most-read-aaa-posts-2008-2015.html

249) The Revised AAA Crossword! http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2016_07_10_archive.html


251) Half-A-Dozen Berries Plus One (An AAA Tribute To Chuck Berry) http://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/an-aaa-covers-tribute-to-chuck-berry.html

252) Guest Post: ‘The Skids – Joy’ (1981) by Kenny Brown  https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/guest-post-skids-joy-1981.html


254) Guest Post: ‘Supertramp – Some Things Never Change’ by Kenny Brown https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2018/06/guest-review-supertramp-some-things.html

255) AAA Review Of The Year 2018 https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2018/12/the-aaa-review-of-year-2018.html

256) AAA Review Of The Year 2019 plus Review Of The Decade 2010-2019 https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2019/12/the-alans-album-archives-review-of-year.html


257) Tiermaker https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2019/06/alans-album-archives-on-tiermaker.html

258) #Coronastock https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2020/04/coronastock.html

259) #Coronadocstock https://alansalbumarchives.blogspot.com/2020/05/coronadocstock.html

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