sultans of ping f.c.

REVIEW: Sultans of Ping F.C. – Casual Sex in the Cineplex (2018 expanded edition)

SULTANS OF PING F.C. – Casual Sex in the Cineplex (Originally 1993, 2018 Cherry Red expanded edition)

What an odd situation, when an extremely obscure album you spent years and years hunting for is reissued in a 2 CD deluxe expanded edition, and is sitting there in stock on the Canadian Amazon store.  17 bonus tracks (16 of which I’ve never heard before in my life) now sit alongside the core 12 album classics in my collection.  The world is a better place for it.

We reviewed Casual Sex in the Cineplex by the Sultans of Ping F.C. back in 2013, but it deserves another look now that it’s been expanded.

Casual Sex boasts a fun but snearing punky side, accompanied by hilarious shrieky lead vocals and lyrics to match.  Top this confection with an Irish accent and loud guitars!  Opener “Back in the Tracksuit” is a perfect example of this recipe: a blast of punk guitars & drums with the bizarrely catchy lead vocals of  Niall O’Flaherty.  Half the time, we couldn’t figure out what he was singing.  “Indeed You Are” sounds like he’s singing “Konichiwa!”  So that’s the way we sing it.

The relaxed poppier songs are just as good.  “Veronica” is a cute serenade with strings and harmonica.  Perhaps it’s inspired by early period Beatles, filtered through the Sultans’ own bedraggled lenses.  “2 Pints of Rasa” is in a similar spirit: a stroll through the park on a sunny Saturday afternoon “drinking with the guys”…and with strings!  In the lyrics, O’Flaherty proclaims to his girl of interest, “but I still like you, you are my ice cream.”  Write that one down for the next time you’re with your significant others.

A broadside shot of breakneck guitars kick off “Stupid Kid”.  The infectious chorus goes on for days.  “You’re stupid, S-T-U-P-I-D kid!”  I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more entertaining combination of snark and melody.  “Stupid Kid” is among the best tunes on the album.  “You Talk Too Much” is its twin brother, shrieks and surf-rock drums notwithstanding.

A rollicky bass intro kicks off “Give Him a Ball (And a Yard of Grass)”, and the body surfing begins!  You can’t hear what O’Flaherty is singing for most of it, but it hardly matters.  You can sing along as if you do, and nobody will notice.  The party has only one lull:  “Karaoke Queen” is OK, a little slack, but it is quickly followed by “Let’s Go Shopping”.   It’s another one of those sentimental Sultans numbers about, well, going shopping.  We always found the jubilant lyrics quite mirthful:

Put on your flip-flops and we’ll go shopping, dear
Put on your flip-flops, we’ll go flip-flopping, dear
You can buy crisps and I can buy jam,
You push the trolley, I’ll push the pram.

The sentiment stops there, since the next song is entitled “Kick Me With Your Leather Boots”!  That means you can count on brisk, boisterous shenanigans.  As a bonus, the lyrics planted the seed for me to seek out Schaffner’s bizarre conspiracy movie The Boys From Brazil.  “Clitus Clarke” approaches being skip-worthy, but who cares since the final song is our favourite, “Where’s Me Jumper?”

My brother knows Karl Marx
He met him eating mushrooms in the public park
He said ‘What do you think of my manifesto?’
I like your manifesto, put it to the testo.

This album would be worth buying just for the one song.  “Dancing at the Disco, bumper to bumper,” but then disaster!  “Wait a minute — where’s me jumper?!”  Niall goes on to complain that “It’s alright to say things can only get better.  You haven’t lost your brand new sweater.”  True, true.  “My mother will be so, so angry.”  But it’s impossible not to grin ear to ear like a gleeful hooligan by the end of it.

For years the original 12 tracks were all we had.  Later Sultans albums could be found in the wild, but T-Rev always said the fun wasn’t there.  He even found the single for “You Talk Too Much” which had “Japanese Girls” on the B-side.  Nothing to him was as essential as the first album, which is easy to listen to end-to-end and then do all over again.  Which is usually the way we listened to it.

How does adding 17 rarities change the listening experience?

Not badly, as it turns out.  The bonus CD is only a punky 42 minutes long so it never becomes an exercise in testing patience.  Seeing that information about this band is scarce already, it’s impossible to know how “complete” the bonus CD is with rarities.  It seems to compile Sultans EP and single B-sides from 1991 to 1993.  Other Sultans deluxe editions are out there comprising the later albums.

None of the bonus tracks are as indispensable as disc one, but that’s not the point.  A blast of a time will still be had, with more of the same sound that endeared us to the band in the first place.  There’s an early version of “Stupid Kid” from a 1991 EP, and a live recording of “Indeed You Are” from a 1993 EP called Teenage Punks.  “Miracles” (from 1991) adds a hint of the Ramones to the stew.  B-side “I Said I Am I Said” is fun like the album and makes a fine addition.  Check out “Robo Cop”, and the live track “Football Hooligan” for a couple more songs that are hard to resist.  Some, like “Turnip Fish” are just weird and more like early Alice Cooper.

Great to have more early Sultans, all in one place.  Get yours.

 

4.8/5 stars

 

 

 

 

#347.5: Days of Christmas Past

Xmas paper

RECORD STORE TALES Mk II: Getting More Tale
#347.5: Days of Christmas Past

Aaron emailed me a couple days ago.

12/18/2014 – Title “la poste”
Hey! You get anything interesting in the mail? ;)
A

Then, yesterday a text:

12/19/2014 – Aaron *******
Dude you get any mail YET?!

I think I can surmise a Aaron may have sent me another annual Christmas gift? A parcel did arrive yesterday, that I have to pick up at the post office. Is it my long overdue eBay order? Or is it my new Star Wars figs from Big Bad Toy Store? Or is it the Mystery Aaron Mail (M.A.M.).

I’ll let you know later on, as I plan on posting Christmas galleries this season, as I did last year. For now, I will leave you with this awesome video from 2012, probably the best Mystery Aaron Mail (M.A.M.) that I have yet received!

 

What could it be at the post office?

I’m on Christmas holidays now! Give’r!


 

#344: Childhood Recording Sessions

IMG_20141125_180800

RECORD STORE TALES Mk II: Getting More Tale
#344: Childhood Recording Sessions

When we were kids in the 1980’s, pre-internet, pre-downloading, the only avenue we had to share music with each other was taping.  If a friend had an album you wanted, you could try to record it.  For example my next door neighbor George had all the Kiss albums, on LP.  All he was missing was The Elder.  What Kiss albums I didn’t own myself (which was most of them) I gradually taped one by one from George.  I’d write down the song titles and make a cassette cover.  When George wrote down the songs, I couldn’t always read them.  When he did get The Elder in ’86, he made a copy for me.  For a little while, I thought Kiss had a song on it called “Escape from the Ish”.

One Sunday afternoon in ’85 I went over to his place with a 60 minute tape, intending to record Unmasked.  George dusted off the LP, dropped the needle and hit “record”.  At the same time, he also decided to play bass along to the whole album.  Somehow, his bass bled through to the tape recorder.

I didn’t find an original copy of Unmasked for two more years.  Until that time, all I had to listen to was my taped copy, complete with George’s bass “overdubbed” on top of Gene’s!  If I think back and remember really hard, I can still hear in my mind how George kept playing through the song fade outs!

Other recording sessions were far more elaborate.  When George acquired Kiss’ Animalize Live Uncensored on VHS tape, he brought it over along with his own VCR, so we could dub a copy, VCR to VCR.  On other occasions I would bring our VCR over to my best friend Bob’s place, and record there.  My parents hated it when I disconnected the VCR!  My dad always seemed to fear we’d never get it hooked up properly again!  Or that we’d lose the controller, or worse, break it.  But then, if we were recording at my house, my dad would always walk in and mock the bands.  “What’s wrong with that man?” my dad said of Bruce Dickinson.  “He keeps on screaming as if he’s in terrible pain!”

Copying music improved greatly in the 1990’s.  The durability of the blank tapes improved, and dubbing from CD was infinitely better than recording tape to tape.  Because of the improvements in quality, the cassettes we dubbed in the 90’s are still playable.  Still, there is no comparison in sound to a CD.  Finally in 2001, I purchased my first CD burner, enabling me to create the best possible sounding copies of music.

None of those improvements in technology, nor the advent of the CD-R, swayed me from owning an original CD or LP.  I may have had a burned copy of the Sultans of Ping F.C., but there’s nothing better than an original.  Somebody could send me a CD rip of some amazing rare bonus tracks by bands I like, which is great…but not as great as owning the original.

Why?

I don’t really know.  Certainly I have plenty of friends from every age group who are content not to own any CDs.  They don’t need to own it in order to listen on an iPod.  That’s not good enough for me.  I want the whole experience.  I want the cover art (on paper, not a computer screen), I want the liner notes.  I want to file the new CD on my shelves in the right order, and then gaze upon my collection of a given artist.  I like to handle the artwork, the CD, and take a hard squint at the pictures.  It’s hard to explain.  I can justify it by saying CD just sounds better than an mp3.  And as good as CD gets, sometimes vinyl can sound even better.

Even though I don’t need them anymore, I miss the old days of the Sunday recording sessions.  I miss the social aspects of friends gathering in somebody’s basement or living room to share and discuss and enjoy music (all of which I later bought, anyway).  I miss that feeling of heading home with some new music to listen to, right out of a friend’s collection.  But I don’t miss having only enough money to buy blank tapes, instead of originals.  I’m much happier now with my collection of well loved physical, original music.

REVIEW: Sultans of Ping F.C. – Casual Sex in the Cineplex (1993)

This one is by special request of Aaron who acquired this album for me!

SULTANS OF PING F.C. – Casual Sex in the Cineplex (1993 Rhythm King)

I’ve said a tremendous amount about this band already.  In case you need a refresher:

Needless to say I have some history with this album.  Before too long, T-Rev would start incorporating lyrics from this album into our daily dialogue.  For example:

“Hey Trevor, how’re you doing?”

“Back in the Tracksuit!”

I have a hard time describing this album.  It has a snearing punky vibe, hilarious shrieky lead vocals and lyrics to match, topped with an Irish accent and guitars! “Back in the Tracksuit” is a perfect example of this; a blast of punk guitars & drums with the bizarrely catchy lead vocals of  Niall O’Flaherty.  Half the time we couldn’t figure out what he was singing.  “Indeed You Are” sounds like he’s singing “Konichiwa!”

“Veronica” is a cute serenade with strings and harmonica.  Maybe it’s a take on early period Beatles, filtered through their own bedraggled lenses.  “2 Pints of Rasa” is in a similar spirit: a stroll through the park on a sunny Saturday afternoon “drinking with the guys”…and with strings!  In the lyrics, O’Flaherty proclaims to his girl of interest, “but I still like you, you are my ice cream.”

A broadside shot of breakneck guitars kick off “Stupid Kid”.  T-Rev and the rest of us loved this refrain.  The chorus was infectious!  “You’re stupid, S-T-U-P-I-D kid!”  I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more entertaining combination of snark and melody.  One of the best tunes on the album.  “You Talk Too Much” is a twin brother, shrieks and surf-rock drums notwithstanding.

A rollicky bass intro kicks off “Give Him a Ball (And a Yard of Grass)”, and the body surfing begins!  I have no idea what O’Flaherty is singing for most of it, but it hardly matters.  You can sing along as if you do, and nobody will notice.

“Karaoke Queen” is OK, a little slack, but it is quickly followed by “Let’s Go Shopping”.   It’s another one of those sentimental Sultans numbers about, well, going shopping.  We always found the jubilant lyrics quite mirthful:

Put on your flip-flops and we’ll go shopping, dear
Put on your flip-flops, we’ll go flip-flopping, dear
You can buy crisps and I can buy jam,
You push the trolley, I’ll push the pram.

The sentiment stops there, since the next song is entitled “Kick Me With Your Leather Boots”!  That means you can count on brisk, boisterous shenanigans.  “Clitus Clarke” approaches being skip-worthy, but who cares since the final song is our favourite, “Where’s Me Jumper?”

My brother knows Karl Marx
He met him eating mushrooms in the public park
He said ‘What do you think of my manifesto?’
I like your manifesto, put it to the testo.

It’s just great fun.  You can’t help but move to it.  To me this album would be worth buying just for the one song.

Thankfully, this collection has an assortment of really great songs and some pretty good ones too.  All of them are gladdening and memorable, so for that reason Casual Sex in the Cineplex has a permanent spot in my car’s MP3 player.

4.8/5 stars

SAM_1637

VIDEO BLOG: Surprise Parcel From Aaron!

For the full story behind this, click here:

RECORD STORE TALES Part 135: Back In A Tracksuit

3

Most Unrightfully Ignored Albums of the 1990s – LeBrain’s List Part 4

This is it!  The end!  In alphabetical order, here’s Part 4 of 4:  88 albums that meant the world to me in the 1990′s but never got the respect I felt they deserved.   Thanks for joining in!

Savatage – Streets:  A Rock Opera (sheer brilliance, their first and best rock opera)
Savatage – Edge of Thorns (an album to give Queensryche a run for their money)
Savatage – Handful of Rain (recovering from tragedy to create a triumph)
Savatage – The Wake of Magellan (how did this band just keep getting more brilliant?)
Scorpions – Face the Heat (had a couple good heavy rockers on there like “Alien Nation”)
Shaw/Blades – Hallucination (Tommy Shaw, Jack Blades, campfire goodness)
Skid Row – Subhuman Race (when you’re pissed off and you know it, bang thy head)

Sloan – 4 Nights at the Palais Royale (one of the best live albums of all time – ignored internationally)
Dee Snider’s SMF’s – Live / Forever Twisted (fuck, I missed Dee in the 90’s!)
Spinal Tap – Break Like the Wind 
Stryper – Can’t Stop the Rock (a compilation with two great new tunes)
Sultans of Ping F.C. – Casual Sex in the Cineplex (see here)
Talas – If We Only Knew Then What We Know Now… (Billy Sheehan and the boys reunited for one night, and has the wisdom to record it)
Tesla – Bust A Nut (in some ways it’s better than their prior records)
Testament – The Ritual (really heavily slagged at the time as a sellout)
Tonic – Sugar (much better than the first record, you know, the one that was a hit)
Devin Townsend / Ocean Machine – Biomech (one of his more accessible albums)
Union – Union (Bruce Kulick + John Corabi = better than what the Crue or Kiss was releasing)
Steve Vai – Sex and Religion (Devin Townsend — lead throat)
Veruca Salt – Eight Arms To Hold You (their best album, better than the big hit one)
White Lion – Mane Attraction (it was a little mushy, but brilliant guitars by Vito Bratta)
Whitesnake – Restless Heart (back to his blues rock roots, it wasn’t even released here)

We’re done!  88 albums that meant a lot to me in the 1990’s, but in some cases were criminally ignored.  Check them out.

Part 135: GUEST SHOT! Back In A Tracksuit

“It’s alright to say things will only get better.  You haven’t lost your brand new sweater.”

RECORD STORE TALES PART 135:  Back In A Tracksuit

Way, way back, in Part 15, I talked about a band called the Sultans Of Ping F.C.  (F.C. stands for Football Club.)

Their album, Casual Sex in the Cineplex, was discovered in-store by T-Rev and quickly spread to the rest of us. It was Irish punk rock with hilarious lyrics!

My brother knows Karl Marx
He met him eating mushrooms in the public park
He said ‘What do you think of my manifesto?’
I like your manifesto, put it to the testo   – (“Where’s Me Jumper?”)

That album spread line fungus among us.  One problem:  there was just one copy in the entire chain of stores.  And all of us wanted it.  So, the CD went on hold into a “store play” pile.  Anybody could listen to it on their shift, but it stayed in the store.  That arrangement lasted a few months.

But T-Rev remembers this much more clearly than I do.  I’ll let him take over:

Here is the official “Sultans Of Ping F.C.” story! We stumbled across this album, as Mike has said, completely by happenstance, put it on, laughed our heads off…history was made!

So, none of us wanted to put it “on the floor” for sale, fearing it would be gone forever, so I put it in my “pile” and there it sat for probably 3-4 months. Other staff members would listen to it (even when I was off) and just put it back in my pile at the end of the night. They didn’t want me to buy it either, as that would mean it would leave the store and enter my collection…which meant we couldn’t listen to it at the store (obviously), and I enjoyed the laugh occasionally. So it kind of became a sort of “store copy”.

One day, the boss came in and it was playing. He hated the album from the get-go (as he got a taste of it shortly after we discovered it) and he made a comment about it still being here in my “pile” and said “if you are not going to buy it, then put it out for sale!” so I did, reluctantly (thinking it would never sell anyway, and i’d be able to snag it later “unnoticed”). That same day, just before shift change, Matty came in and perused the new arrivals (as he often did prior to starting his shift).  He found the “Sultans” in said area and looks at me and says “You’re not buying this? Fuck, I will!!”…and the boss sold it to him right in front of me.

That’s the last time I have ever seen an actual copy of that album (although I have a downloaded copy of it now) – not the same!

Should’ve put it in the “Saskatoon pile”!

“Back In A Tracksuit”…”Two Pints of Raza”…”Where’s Me Jumper?”…”Give Him a Ball and a Yard of Grass”…all great tunes, funny yet insanely catchy and quirky!

I remember that we could barely understand the words, and “Indeed You Are” sounded to us a hell of a lot like “Konnichiwa”!

I know that Trevor did once locate a CD single from the Sultans.  Was it “Japanese Girls”?  Trevor adds:

I have 2 CD singles as well!!

Coincidentally, I have EVERY OTHER Sultans album except Casual Sex…

I have never seen an actual physical copy of Casual Sex again either.  A guy in Ireland burned me a copy and mailed it to me, but the sound’s not that great, and the speed sounds a little off.

Still, great songs.  Anybody got a copy?  You could have a bidding war between me and T-Rev!

Part 44: eBayers

Shortly after we kicked off our website, we ran into a brand new breed of customer.  This breed was probably accidentally created in a lab when scientists cross the “annoying customer” with the “computer” and tossed in some DNA from “the internet”.

These guys bought the same titles, over and over and over again.  Then they would re-sell them on eBay and double their money.  The problem is these guys would get up early in the morning, check the website updates, and snag them before sane people wake up.

Some of the titles they were always hunting for:

  • Alanis Morissette – Alanis
  • Alanis Morissette – Now is the Time

These were Alanis’ first two dance-pop discs that have never been reissued.  For obvious reasons.

Another:

  • Last of the Mohicans – Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

This classic score was out of print for a long time.  That, and it’s dramatic quality, made it a classic for eBaying.

  • The Traveling Wilburys – Vol 1
  • The Traveling Wilburys – Vol 3

Before these two albums were reissued recently with bonus material, they were completely unavailable.  People were willing to pay up to and over $50 for the first one on eBay.

There were pretty strict company rules about staff buying product for resale on eBay for their own personal profit.  You can see why this would be so, the store is not there to supply an employee’s personal eBay business.

However before that rule kicked in, and eBay was new to the world, a few of us tried selling some stuff as an experiment.  I remember getting good good money for the following, which I sold multiple times:

  • Freddie Mercury – Mr. Bad Guy
  • The Tea Party – Release (EP)

Now it’s almost impossible to imagine a time when you couldn’t get (almost) anything on eBay, if you can afford it.  Yet there are still some things I’m hunting for, and I have not found yet on eBay.  If you have either of these, drop me a line!

  • The Cult – Capsule 2
  • The Sultans of Ping F.C. – Casual Sex in the Cineplex

Part 17: New Music

1993. Fuck yeah.

RECORD STORE TALES Part 17:  New Music

I had always tried to stay ahead of the curve, musically.  Not so much anymore, but back then?  Definitely.  When I was a younger, more handsome fellow (see above, next to Jean-Luc Picard), I used to buy every magazine that was on the shelf, all the time.  I knew every band coming out,  before they came out.  The record store was an extension of this, bands were coming in all the time that you’d try out.  Big Wreck for example.  I had heard the buzz building about this band for months and then when I saw a CD come in, I tried it and liked it.

Sometimes a CD would just look interesting.   If an album cover struck you, you’d play it on your shift.  If it sucked, you’d take it off.  If you liked it, score!  New fave band.

There was this pseudo “super group” called Neurotic Outsiders in 1996.  T-Rev raved about their debut album, Neurotic Outsiders, so I snagged it.  They consisted of Matt Sorum and Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses), Steve Jones (Sex Pistols), and John Taylor (Duran Duran).  It was decidedly punk rock, which was fine by me, and I was finding myself really getting into punk at the time. It was great!  Made my top 10 that year.

Another one was the Sultans of Ping F.C.  That’s a mouthful.  (F.C. was for Football Club).  Their album, Casual Sex in the Cineplex, was discovered by Trevor and quickly spread among us like fungus. It was Irish punk rock with hilarious lyrics!

My brother knows Karl Marx
He met him eating mushrooms in the public park
He said What do you think of my manifesto?
I like your manifesto, put it to the testo   – (“Where’s Me Jumper?”)

That album spread like fungus among us.  One problem:  there was just one copy in the entire chain of stores.  And all of us wanted it.  So, the CD went on hold into a “store play” pile.  Anybody could listen to it on their shift, but it stayed in the store.  That arrangement lasted about a year.

The boss wouldn’t let us just “keep it on hold” for ourselves and not buy it, rightfully so.  It was a product.  Trev put it on the shelves.  He was quite confident that nobody would ever buy it.   We could listen to it in store to our heart’s desires, and it was still “for sale”.

I think that may have been the status quo for like another year, maybe two.  Then they hired this new guy Matty G.  Matty G was not aware of the “nobody may buy the Sultans of Ping” rule.   Matty G bought the Sultans of Ping on his first shift, after hearing Trev playing it in store.

Matt was kind enough to tape it for me, and later on a guy in England burned me a copy.  Yet,   that was to this day the only copy I have ever seen.  If anybody reading this owns a copy:  Name your price.