sultans of ping fc

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

 

 

 

 

#426: The History of the Holy Grail

KNIGHT

RECORD STORE TALES MkII: Getting More Tale
#426: The History of the Holy Grail

I don’t know when I started referring to this list as my “Holy Grail” items, but the idea is simple.  I wanted to create a wishlist of musical items that would be my ultimate, most sought after records and CDs.  For example, there is a rare Iron Maiden EP called Live!! +one.  It was released in Japan in 1980, and featured two exclusive recordings still unavailable anywhere else:  “Sanctuary” and “Drifter” from the Marquee show.  In 2014, I found a copy in Mississauga.  Should I have bought it?  It was $100.  It was not in the budget that time.  Will I ever see it again?

Those are the kinds of things I’m referring to as Holy Grails.  The kinds of things that you see only ever one or twice in your time as a fan.  When you find a Holy Grail item, how much are you willing to pay?  I paid $300 for a copy of the rare live album marillionrochester on eBay.  I don’t think I’ll ever do that again though.  That was a once in a lifetime buy.  (Only 2000 copies of it were ever made, which were sent directly to fans who donated to their 1997 American tour fund.  It will never be reissued.)

In the digital age, curating a Holy Grail list has never been easier.  My solution today is simple.  I have entrusted my Holy Grail list to Aaron over at the KeepsMeAlive site.  There, he has created (and continues to update) several bloggers’ personal lists as the Master Grail Search List.  Using this list from our smartphones, we have hunted for items for others, too.  The increased range provided by the Master Grail Search List has resulted in a couple scores.

While searching one of my hard drives, I discovered what is probably the very first Grail list I ever made, and it is over 10 years old now.  Apparently I wasn’t calling it a Grail list yet (like I said, I don’t know when we started using that term), but below is my 2005 “Ultimate All-Time Want List”.  I have since found a number of these…but have also added many more to my list!  Check out the list, with added notes from today in [red].


CHICKARA

Date: 2005/06/11

ULTIMATE ALL-TIME WANT LIST

To be modified and added to periodically.

In no particular order:

  • KISS – Chikara (CD or LP)

[I should have bought this when I had the chance in ’96 at Dr. Disc in Hamilton!  I blew it.]

  • marillion – Web Christmas 1998 CD
  • marillion – Web Christmas 1999 CD

[Still missing these two.  I’ve downloaded them from their official site, which is nice, but not as nice as an original CD.]

  • Metallica – The 5 1/2 Year Anniversary Box Set LP

[Saw this one at Flying Monkey Music in Waterloo in 1997, priced around $120.  I should have bought it.  Scott, our Heavy Metal Overlord has a copy, but he is also apparently immune to my Jedi mind tricks.]

  • Tommy Shaw – Girls With Guns CD

[Hahaha, what!?  I don’t remember wanting this!]

[I mean, sure, I’ll take it, I like that one song…it’s a great music video too, all one continuous shot with no edits…but the CD is certainly not a Holy Grail item anymore!]

  • KISS – Alive III (Japanese CD)

[No longer needed, since the release of Kiss’ comprehensive Alive! 1975-2000 box set!]

  • Iron Maiden – “Wasting Love” (CD single)
  • Iron Maiden – “Hallowed Be Thy Name” (CD single)
  • Motley Crue – Generation Swine (limited edition Japanese with bonus track “Song To Slit Your Wrist By”)

[FOUND, FOUND, and FOUND!  All of these came from eBay.  None were cheap, but I had a budget threshold for each under which I was willing to pay.]

  • Black Sabbath – “The Shining” (12″ single)

[No longer needed, due to the excellent Sabbath deluxe edition of Eternal Idol.]

  • The Sultans Of Ping F.C. – Casual Sex in the Cineplex CD

[FOUND by Aaron in 2012!  Holy Grail lists work!]

  • ZZ Top – Chrome Smoke & BBQ (limited edition CD box set)

[FOUND, quite easily, and very soon after I made this original list.  I just went down to Best Buy and bought it.  Hey, sometimes it’s the simple way.]

  • KISS – Instant Live CDs (ALL of them)

[Three have been FOUND!  I would still love “all” of them, but I’m not made of money!]

SWINE_0001


I’m actually surprised to see so many items crossed off this decade-old list!  Surprised, and pleased.  I know how much I wanted some of these items, such as those Iron Maiden CD singles.  That Motley Crue import also dogged me for years.

The internet helped me gain access to many of these.  It has also broadened my realization of what lay in the nooks and crannies of a band’s discography.  When I made this list 10 years ago, I didn’t even know about Maiden’s Live!! +one EP.  I didn’t know that the same band’s Best of the Beast 6 LP box set had one exclusive bonus track (“Revelations” live) that was tucked away unnoticed.  As I have crossed items off my list, two more sprang forth in their place!

Thanks to Aaron’s Master Grail Search List, the never ending quest continues!

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

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.