Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Penny Lane

From Winnipeg in Canada, my latest guest castaway washed ashore on a lonely island in the sea is DJ Penny Lane : Soul Junkie, Music Nerd, Co-Presenter of 'We Are The Mods' and Host of the mod radio show 'Punks in Parkas'.

Broadcasting live on UMFM 101.5 FM, 'Punks in Parkas' hit the air in the spring of 2005. Hosted by Penny Lane, it strives to play the best of the mod genera, from the original groups who rocked it in the early 1960s to the artists today who are reviving the scene.

The Beatles - Abbey Road Medley

Abbey Road Medley : You Never Give Me Your Money/Sun King/Mean Mr. Mustard/Polythene Pam/She Came in Through the Bathroom Window/Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End.

"Does it get much more beautiful than the Abbey Road Medley? To me, it’s something that perfectly sums up the amazing career The Beatles had and the incredible music they created. The medley takes you from the seriousness of Paul’s songwriting, to John’s sometimes silly yet poignet lyrics, to George’s hauntingly beautiful and almost religious like hymns which is all held together by the steady hand of Ringo’s drums. 

I can get lost in not just the 'Abbey Road Medley', but the whole B-side of the this album and I find myself turning to it over and over again. Over the years it has become my security blanket – that one thing I know that can make me feel right with everything. My fondest memory DJ'ing has to be a few years back when I was asked to DJ a low key event on a Sunday night at a small local pub. The mood in the pub was very relaxed, mellow and I put on the B-side of 'Abbey Road' and just let the album play out. Not only was it a joy to hear that medley, but to actually feel the beats as they pounded through the speakers, feel the vibrations of the guitars hit my legs and skirt from the monitors below my DJ decks – it was bliss for me and cemented in my mind how important that whole album is to me. 

Sure, it’s personal – it’s something that I turned to at a time in my life when I needed some sort of hope. It carried me on when I didn’t think I had the strength to do so myself. It became a warm and comfortable hug from a true and loving friend when I needed it most. 

That medley, which starts on a kind of somber note with 'You Never Give Me Your Money', ends with the most perfect and honest statement to ever come out of rock and roll – ‘and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.’ It’s a journey from a hard place to one of hope, of truth and honesty. How we get there, from this place of break down to this moment of complete understand and peace is just like life, really. It’s not straightforward – it’s a winding path that is filled with humor, hope, joy, anger and in the end, love.

When I have a bad day, when I’m feeling down or depressed or I need something to get me back on track, I listen to the 'Abbey Road Medley' and by the time 'She Came in Through the Bathroom Window' starts, I always feel a little bit better and  start to tap my toes. Then of course 'Golden Slumbers' starts and I want to smile and cry at the same time – ‘boy,you’re gonna carry that weight a long time…’  Truth in rock and roll."

The 006 - Like What, Me Worry ?

"They say that the best revenge is a life well lived. I’m a firm believer in that, but every so often I need a reminder... that’s where this song comes in. Its rash, gritty, its got a great beat and if you listen to the lyrics, you see how cold, disturbing and down-right violent it really is. 

I think we have all gotten so angry that we have cursed someone under our breath. When I need to release a little build up inner frustration (and come on, admit it, who doesn’t feel that way once in a while?), I put on this song, turn it up and let its nasty and vicious lyrics speak for me. I’m not a violent or evil spirited person but even I get a tingle of some odd satisfaction at some of these lyrics:

If you say one more thing about me
When you open up your big mouth
I’ll put my hand in there and grab your toes
And turn you inside out
I’m gonna tie you into a great big knot
And throw you onto the floor
Gonna stomp on and pulverize you
Till you ain’t no more
Like what, me worry? Ha ha ha!

Apart from those fantastically sadistic lyrics, can we talk about the driving beat behind this song? It’ the best kind of gritty garage rock there is – fuzzy guitars, great bass and drum combo and an oddly chip and upbeat tempo that begs you to get up and dance. That’s what first attracted me to this song, the B-side to the only single that Chicago’s 006 ever released, was that fantastic drumming and the driving beat that just begs you to dance to it.

It’s the best revenge song I think I’ve ever heard."

Otis Redding - Coffee and Cigarettes

"My first introduction to Otis Redding was via the movie 'Pretty in Pink'. There is a very iconic scene where Molly Ringwald’s character is in the record store she works in and her boss puts on Otis Redding’s 'Try a Little Tenderness'. On cue, Ducky (the character who is lusting after Ringwald) enters and does the most amazing lip sync routine I think I’ve ever seen in my life. 

This was before I knew what Motown was, before I knew what soul was, before I knew what Mod was. I fell head over heels in love with that song. 

My love for Otis Redding just blossomed from there and it was only a handful of years ago that I discovered the track ‘Coffee and Cigarettes'. To me, it’s the definitive soul song. It’s passionate, it’s heartfelt, honest and pure. Otis has such raw emotion in his voice, such love and respect that it will always send chills up and down my spine and makes all the hairs on my body stand on end. 

It’s something all men and women seem to crave in their life – to find that one person who completes them so perfectly. How many women over the years have listened to this song and wished to hear those words, how many men have listened and wished to feel those words? To me, it’s what love is. It’s being able to want nothing more than to share the most simple and mundane tasks in the world with someone – like smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. 

The song is this beautiful moment of realization. It’s in those simple and often overlooked moments where we really discover love."

The High Numbers - I'm The Face

"If I had to pick one song that really started everything for me as a DJ and radio host, that dubious honor would go to 'I’m the Face' by The High Numbers. 

I used to regularly attend a club night in Winnipeg back in the early 2000's called Loaded Club. Britpop had just hit Winnipeg, bringing with it a Mod revival and this club was our city's weekly Britpop/Mod night. Once I discovered it, I quickly became a regular and started to learn all I could about Mod. I dove headfirst into the one thing I identified the most with – the music. I would spend every spare minute looking up bands, labels and sifting through dusty bins filled with records and 45s. I was a women obsessed. 

The first time I ever heard “I’m The Face” was when I picked up a slightly used copy of The Who’s Maximum R & B box set. That harmonica at the start of the track grabbed me and for two and a half minutes I listened transfixed. I found myself constantly humming the song, singing it in my head and I wanted nothing more than to hear that track at Loaded Club and dance to it.

When I went to request the song from the resident DJ on my next visit the club, I was slightly shocked when he told me he had never heard of it.  I found this happening more and more often... I would discover a fantastic song, have it stuck in my head all week, head to Loaded Club on the weekend, go request the song only to have the DJ tell me he didn’t have it or actually had not heard of it. 

With hopes to strike up a friendship with the DJ, who went by the moniker 'The Invisible Man', I made him a mix CD of all of these tracks that I requested and he didn’t know or have. I opened the CD with The High Number’s “I’m The Face.” That CD has now almost become the stuff of legends, with The Invisible Man not only playing the entire thing the night he got it at the club, but it also helping to forge a lifelong friendship with the DJ. 

The Invisible Man, noting my love for music, insisted a few years into our friendship that I apply for a radio show on the same station he presented his on – 101.5 UMFM in Winnipeg. So in 2005, with his help, I brought 'Punks in Parkas' to the air for the first time. 

The very first track I ever played?

You guessed it – 'I’m The Face' by The High Numbers."

Serendipity Singers - Beans In My Ears

"I didn’t grow up in a particularly musical household. A lot of people find this surprising considering that I work on two music based radio shows/podcasts and that my house is full of records and CDs. This is not to say my parents didn’t enjoy music, it just wasn’t played much, if often, in our house. I have fond memories of listening to late 1950s and early 1960s rock and roll with my dad in his truck and of my mom humming 'White Rabbit' by Jefferson Airplane to herself around the house periodically.

Growing up, I remember this small wire rack that my parents kept in the basement that held about 25 or so 45s. These were dirty, scratched up little records that were missing their sleeves and had obviously seen better days, but as a pre-teen I was fascinated with them. I would escape to the basement, turn on the old Sear’s turntable and play these records. There were the standard 45s by The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and of course, as any good Canadian will attest, The Guess Who. But hidden in the rack was this strange record, this silly song that I remembered hearing and singing as a child. 

Did my parents sing it to me? Did they play it to me? To be honest, I couldn’t tell you but part of me remembers being a young child and laughing at this song about putting beans in your ears. It made me laugh as much as a pre-teen as it did when I was little. 

Over the years, when I started to collect my own records and get more and more obsessed with music, I forgot all about that wire rack in the basement, including the silly bean song. It wasn’t until I had been doing 'Punks in Parkas' for a good amount of time that I stumbled across the song while doing research for an upcoming episode. As soon as I heard those wobbly first four notes, I was instantly taken back to being a small child in my parent’s house, laughing with my sister over this silly song and then again to being a pre-teen and discovering those 45s and listening to them over and over again. 

It brought back a flood of emotions and feelings that reminded me my family, my childhood and the first time I discovered how fantastic music could be. It can elevate you, transfix you, comfort you, anger you, speak for you, encourage you and support you... or it can tell you to stick beans in your ears! "


Now you have listened to Penny's 5 great tracks and read where she's coming from, you'll be wanting to hear more from her ... am I right ?

Your starting point must be the Punks in Parkas website, so go to the link below :

Next up is We Are The Mods : Check out the next link... you won't be disappointed !



Anonymous said...

cool will check it out, I saw that you are given a mention in tony beesley's book sawdust caesars, my copy came in post yesterday

Anonymous said...

The "Invisible Man" mix needs to be the next Soul-O-Rama CD!