Tuesday, 21 September 2010

'It's curtains for you Elizabeth my dear' by @diaryofaledger

It took a job at Safeway to get me into the Stone Roses.  Well a job at Safeway and Warrick.  I finished school at 16 and went to Tech College to 'study' Business taking with me an healthy love for poodle rock and not an ounce of cool.  Then I met Warrick and he started me down a path of musical delight.

I was about a year behind everyone, I fell for the Mondays first but I can remember the first time I heard 'Waterfall' in my bright yellow Fiesta on the way to Carisbrooke Castle for a smoke of something or other...

The first Stone Roses album is up there as one of the greats for me, an album that doesn't date, totally timeless and beautiful.  It's indie at its core, label it 'baggy' if you want but this and Pills and Thrills were so far ahead of every other album lumped into that group of records.  The Roses were stealing from the Beatles way before Noel Gallagher thought of it and they were loads better at it.

As soon as 'I Wanna Be Adored' starts it takes me back to stumbling around a dance floor staring at my shoes, in bad clothes.  The Roses hardly looked cool though, so that was ok.  We stared at our shoes a lot in those days, given the chance I'd still dance like that to everything.

They could have been so huge.  They blew it of course, caught up in a legal wrangle over their original record deal the second album didn't come out for another five years, Ian Brown struggled with his vocals live and they all fell out with each other.  But on that first record and some of the subsequent singles (Fools Gold wasn't on the original pressing) Squire and Brown sore to heights that few bands ever reach.

I could type away about each song all night.  It's an album of great writing with some of the best guitar playing of the last twenty years or so.  It's part of a tradition of great Manchester bands, great British songs, brought to you by four young guys who were so much greater than the sum of their parts.  Only when they split did they really seem to notice how much they needed each other.

If I have to pick one song as a favourite, I really can't, but I can maybe do two.  'I Wanna Be Adored' and 'I Am The Resurrection'.  They start and finish proceedings respectively, 'Adored' all pent up arrogance, with just a hint of fragility in Brown's voice that makes the song work and then 'Resurrection' is like something Primal Scream would have killed for.  Still in my mind the best Roses song, the jam session at the end is very much where the Verve ended up heading with Urban Hymns.  I love the little acoustic guitar, which reminds me of 'Here Comes The Sun' and then the song just drops back into its great rhythm that feels like it could go on forever.   

The Roses and the Mondays made dance music with their guitars and drums and doped out vocals.  It was music that fitted with the start of the 1990s and for a brief while my musical taste was actually pretty cool even if my clothes were still rubbish.  Yeah yeah, they still are, funny.

The Roses first album should be in your collections regardless of whether you can remember the early part of the 90s or not, it's an album that transcends when it was released, almost perfect in every way.

The second album?  That's a whole other essay.

Tonight's post is dedicated to Martin, who's a good friend and gets married on Saturday.

And also to @Estalla_Tres who I know loves the Roses.


Surprised and Excited Mum said...

Shoe gazing!

dumbwitness said...

Until Sally I was never happy
I needed so much more...

Ok, so it's not on the album and it's re-release caused all kinds of mayhem in '89, but as a young club DJ mixing up nights of what was to become the rave scene and a raw indie sound from the Roses and the Mondays it was the best of times.

I still love the raw sound of it and could listen to Sally Cinnamon every single day...

Thamks for the memory-jog. It was some time ago now when you look back!

nowbrushyourteeth said...

I pitched up in Manchester in '89 and unexpectedly stumbled into Madchester. The Rose's were the soundtrack to my year, and through them I connected with other things, from discovering Jimi Hendrix to he art of Jackson Pollock. It was, and remains, pretty special. Classic.