My Top 10 Tracks: The Chanteuse & The Crippled Claw

The Chanteuse & The Crippled Claw is the latest project from Northern electronics pioneer and pop subversive Adrian Flanagan. I’ve been a huge fan of Adrian’s former band Kings Have Long Arms ever since I heard that Phil Oakey had appeared on their debut album I Rock Eye Pop: a true work of twisted rocktronic genius and probably unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Since then, Adrian broke his arms in a devastating bike accident and was told he’d never play an instrument again. In typical defiance, Adrian therefore sprung up with two new bands: live group The Arch Nazards and the aforementioned Chanteuse & The Crippled Claw. The chanteuse in this case is Candie Payne, a fabulous timeless singer who’d worked with Adrian previously on KHLA single Big Umbrella. With a new record deal freshly inked, expect their first single in November with an album in early Spring 2011. I asked Adrian for a list of his Top 10 Songs. What he came back with is something quite special, a diverse sequenced set of tracks that will at turns delight, disturb, and entertain you. The track commentary is brilliant too: you must read it!

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1. Mum & Dad – The Electric Mistress

This is the first track from one of my favorite album’s of the past 10 years. It’s 2020 AD and there’s an Electric Storm over Chorlton Precinct. Toy-town terror synths and 1000 robot drummer boys march upon the trendies, stampeding over the pissy tramp and  lead by a witchy chanteuse from below Hell by the name of  Dame Clair Pearson: she is astride a golden unicorn, she is good with a whip and she is furious with you. This song is the closest you’ll get to an audio Excessive Machine on full throttle.

2. Van Der Graaf Generator – Theme 1

It’s 1972 and Van Der Graaf Generator minus mainman Pete Hammill dick about in the studio with this “Telstar turned up to eleven” cover of a George Martin composition. By accident they have a number 1 hit in Italy, thus shampoo is bought for the hairy old rockers and George has another bath in the breast milk of the titties of John, Paul, George and Mavis.

3. Edwin Starr – Funky Music Sho Nuff Turns Me On

Photo by Natalie Curtis

A record that does what it says on the tin, written and produced by Genius (capital G) Norman Whitfield, psychedelic soul at its very best. This gives even non-dancers like I a boner for the dancefloor, just a little dance though.

4. Stella – L’idole Des Jaunes

I love a lot of 60’s French music but my very favorite artist is a lady who went by the name of STELLA. She got her first record deal aged 12 and wrote songs with her uncle doing mocking pastiches of whatever was popular at the time (ye’ ye’), she even did a single that  complained about her fellow country people only liking music from overseas. Her ate sixties records are just fantastic, some of the greatest slabs of Psych Pop that have ever hit the shores of my ear drums. By the age of 18 she’d had enough of the music industry. Later She married Christian Vander from the group Magma and sung with them on and off through the 70’s to the present day. Spotify, you need to get Stella’s compilation album of her complete works (L’intégrale Sixties) up on your site or the world will perish, she’s the only artist that when I look in the mirror I see, sorry Stella.

5. Motörhead – (We Are) The Roadcrew

Lemmy’s loving ode to the men in denim with arse cracks a-plenty: the tour roadie and the eternal underground artists of the world who still lift their own equipment to the stage. This is all you need to know about the glamour of being in a group. There’s much easier ways of earning some money kids. Luckily I’m not very materialistic, so I’ll keep on.

6. World Of Twist – Sons Of The Stage

During all the Madchester nonsense of my yoof, World Of Twist along with Interstella were my bands, groups that had more imagination, northern psychedelic cool, attitude and pop vision than all them floppy haired mongos put together. Their shows were always events and to me the blueprint for a lot of what you hear and see now in good popular music. One of the greatest stage entries I’ve ever seen was that of World Of Twist frontman Tony Ogden (R.I.P.) at The Ritz in Manchester covered head to toe in tin foil and slowly unfoiling himself to take to the microphone. It’s all in the entry and this song is what World Of Twist were, the Sons of the Stage.

7. Timmy Thomas – Why Can’t We Live Together

One beautiful voice and his weighty B3 organ, I love the simplicity of this song. I always wondered why old Timmy couldn’t live with the person in question, did he have some bad habits, did he not pay his own way? If anyone can help answer this question I’d be grateful.

8. Nico – Afraid

As a young but tall teen I met Nico a few times around Prestwich village when I’d be out shopping with my mum or underage drinking in the foresters with pals. I played pool with her when I was 14 not long before she died. Everything I said to her would be followed by (said in a slow deep Germanic voice) “yes Jimmmmm used to say that” and “Yessss Bob used to say that.” Thinking she was talking about someone local I’d ask her “Jim who? Bob who?” and she’d go “Morrriiissssssonnnnnn“, “Dyllllaaaaaaaaaaaannnn.” I think I could have been a victim of her if I’d stayed long enough (laughs). She was a daft old enigmatic legend who’s voice comes from the depths of your soul. Nico is one of my favorites, this song is both cute and heartbreaking, my favorite kind of song.

9. Scott Walker – Windows Of The World

I love Mr Walker’s first four solo albums more than life. I’m not too keen on all that meat-slapping avant garde stuff: a man blessed with that quality of voice should be forced at gunpoint to only sing ballads or the songs of Jacques Brel. I could have chosen 50 Scott songs but I’ll go with Windows Of  The World which never fails to put a hand on my heart and say “Adrian! Stop, listen, and here’s a tissue.”

10. Elvis Presley – Are You Lonesome Tonight? (Laughing)

If I die tomorrow, put this record on and think of me. This is Elvis at his most high. Elvis has not only left the building but he’s also left the planet, the universe… and so have I.. bye bye.

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