So goes the opening line of Hollow Horse by The Icicle Works. It’s bound to fill our manager, Billy George, with good Christmas cheer. I know it’s one of his favourites. I think I’m right in saying that, under the guise of Honk Promotions, Billy booked lead singer Ian McNabb for a brilliant gig at PJ Molloy’s.
There was a technical issue during the first four songs and Ian McNabb walked off. Issue resolved, McNabb returned from the green room and started the gig anew. He played the first four songs again, continued on for ages and brought the house down.
I remember it being really loud for a lone singer/songwriter. No bad thing when the sound quality is top notch, which it was once the technical was fixed.
The chorus of Hollow Horse is memorable too.
The feel good factor for Wayne…? I’m thinking Jump by Van Halen.
Aztec Camera recorded a very gentle cover version of jump and Wayne can choose.
I’m torn over a selection for Mark. I’m thinking piano, keys, synthesizers, the mellotron and “the fucking Jennings” as Mark calls his favourite instrument at Robin Evans’ Tpot Studios, Path of Condie.
The Door’s Light My Fire or People are strange, The Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever or Lady Madonna, or Baba O’Riley by The Who? No, I’ve got it, for Mark it’s A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum.
As the BBC have shown us this Christmas, changing a famous Pogues song, it’s okay to butcher other people’s lyrics. Here’s my alternative chorus for Procol Harum’s classic.
I know Kirsty MacColl sang “haggard” instead of “faggot” on Top of the Pops and a few years ago Shane McGowan couldn’t be arsed arguing about it. However, Fairytale of New York is a classic and MacColl is singing in character; a marginalised and bitter character. In the voice of that character, the lyric is true. The BBC = lyric police.
Rant over, it’s Donald time!
Okay I made a wee change there too. MC Hammer’s Hammer Time has been compromised. Anyway, my actual choice for Donald is of course Elton John, but not Sacrifice, oh no, it’s I’m Still Standing.
Yes, Donald is still standing – no thanks to Stuart.
Talking of Stuart…
Yes, you can count on toun legend Stevie Agnew to put a smile on Stuart’s face.
Last but not least, Harry. Last Christmas is too obvious a choice. Staying with George Michael I’ll pick Careless Whisper for The Duke.
Wayne told me that George Michael wrote Careless Whisper and added Andrew Ridgeley to the songwriting credits to ensure his Wham! band mate never had to worry about money.
C’mon Donald and Stuart, fingers oot! None of us want to worry about money either.
It’s a beautiful drive from Dunfermline to Tpot Studies in Path of Condie. Stopping in Kinross for square sausage and bacon rolls only added to the pleasure. I was buzzin’ and looking forward to seeing TwinsTown in action.
I was lucky. Doing public relations and photography gave me the second household spot as each of the five band members arrived, laid down their tracks individually, and departed. It made for a long two days but, boy oh boy, it was fun.
I watched all the divas taking tantrums, making unforced errors, losing their nerve, losing their minds and some even lost their hair! I’m sure I could see baldy bits. Embrace the baldness, boys. It’s the price of art.
And debut album Brankholm Brae is going to be a work of art. There’s no doubt. We reviewed the final take on each track and when it worked, it worked.
Donald and Stuart Mackay know how to write a catchy tune. TwinsTown manager Big Daddy aka Billy George described one track, Welcome to My World, as REM on speed. I liken Spitfire to Primal Scream giving it laldy singing, “get your rocks off, get your rock off, honey”.
Before the two household restriction, I attended two TwinsTown rehearsals at Scott Gilbert’s Penthouse Practice Suite, above the 7 Kings at 2a Chalmers Street. At the first rehearsal, Zena and I were laughing, singing Wolves lyrics to the new tunes. Wolves being the twins’ former band, after starting out with The Wingnuts. The old lyrics just seemed to fit and we left thinking TwinsTown hadn’t really progressed musically. Fresh lyrics, same tunes we thought.
By the second rehearsal I attended the songs had developed. It took hours upon hours of work. I know, I was there to see it. When TwinsTown arrived at Tpot Studios to record the album the songs had improved immensely, and I watched as sound engineer Robin, socially distanced in a sound proof booth, tinkered with his mixing desk and offered advice to each individual performer. It’s a process.
The end result is going to be worth the effort.
Of course, I’m bias. I’m the band’s PR and photographer. I booked the Wingnuts to play East End Park in support of Pars United, back in 2012 when we all bought and saved Dunfermline Athletic. Beatnic Prestige headlined and I remember Albo giving the sonic twins a guitar masterclass in the green room. They learned well.
I also booked the Wolves for The Creepy Wee Pub. It was their first gig and we made the whole upstairs a stage. What a gig that was!
I also booked The Mackay Twins to play Tappie Toories, their first gig under that name. I’m sure the old TwinsTown featuring Jimmy Clouston played Tappies too. They just turned up and gigged.
What I’m saying is, I’m a fan. I always have been. As a longtime fan I can honestly say the twins’ new material is their strongest.
My old Wingnuts favourite Wrath of the Rum sits on Brankholm Brae alongside 11 brand spanking new tracks. Wrath deserves a return. It’s a classic. It’s not my favourite anymore though. Spitfire has that honour now. I love it, especially the twins’ Winston Churchill impressions. It’s inspirational, it’s funny, it’s TwinsTown. It’s what the boys are all about.
Please don’t think TwinsTown is all about the twins. As Harry Dixon tells us, we’re all brothers. Shame you didn’t remember that, Harry, when you got Tony Bellew onto me. The world boxing champ called me an uncultured swine! I’ll be giving the Gypsy King a call, or are you best pals with him too…
Seriously though, I used to watch Harry playing songs about his maw buying substandard t-bags from charity shops and despite the strong lyrics his guitar work was inept. Several jugs of lager too many.
Sober Harry is brilliant, on both bass and lead guitar.
To promote Brankholm Brae we’ll be producing a ‘making of’ video and additional ‘in the studio’ videos showing each band member performing a track individually. I’ve already edited Harry’s video, playing bass on Big Heart. It’s impressive, although look out for his wee hussy fit at the very end, and listen on as Robin counsels him over the headphones.
Wayne is also outstanding. He’s like THE toun drummer in Dunfermline. He was a stalwart with The Falcons for years. I think he’s also featured with The Wingnuts, Honk, Beatnic Prestige, The Modern Faces, and the list goes on. He reminds me of Keith Moon from The Who. He’s steady, keeping the beat, steady, steady, and then he goes off unexpectedly. He improvises. He makes every drum track his own.
New member Mark keeps calling me Bowser ‘cos I can drink 20 cans of T without paying a visit. Nae wonder we call him The Darkness. He’s a bad man and the less said about him the better.
Only joking, Mark does a mean Top Gun impression and he’s a big Ainsley Harriott fan. These are meaningful credentials in TwinsTown. His piano and keyboard work is next up in the studio, so more about The Darkness will follow in due course.
Big Daddy says he’s planning on old school vinyl for the release of Brankholm Brae. I know everyone says this, but it’s true, vinyl does have the edge over digital. Digital wins on convenience. Vinyl wins on quality and aesthetics and everything else.
For my part, I’ll be posting here, taking pics and working on the video The Making of Brankholm Brae, plus individual In The Studio vids for each of the famous 5.
Star Wars started with Episode IV: A New Hope. I’m starting with Episode II: Joe’s Blog.
Last night, I explained this to Big Daddy the irascible manager of arguably Dunfermline’s brightest indie rockers, TwinsTown. Billy was very kindly driving me home a day early from Tpot Studios in Path of Condie. I’d had a crisis in the hospitality industry foisted upon me, and my wonderful staff, in my pub Tappie Toories, and I need to deal with the aftermath today.
I should be in the recording studio now with TwinsTown frontmen Donald and Stuart Mackay, the effervescent duo were in dazzling form from morning to very late last night as they laid down the final vocals for their debut album Brankholm Brae, and I was privileged to be the only other household allowed to join them.
I should explain: I’m Joe Graham, and when not in Tappies, I do public relations and photography for Twinstown. This blog starts with episode two as it was actually my second visit to Tpot Studios with the lads. I didn’t blog about my first visit as we only set this website up earlier this week. Episode one will follow shortly.
Anyway, lets get to the point. Big Daddy is irascible. No, only joking, the point is Donald and Stuart are startling. Their final vocals are outstanding, and a massive step up from the early (episode one) rough mixes I have downloaded to my phone. TwinsTown’s debut album Brankholm Brae is going to be an incredible addition to Dunfermline’s rock and pop history. Even the ever-irascible TwinsTown manager Billy George agrees with me. Okay, I’ll stop saying that now. It’s alright, he knows I like a wind-up.
I need to cut this short, you know, new Government guidelines to be appalled about and to try to cope with, a business and a bunch of jobs hang in the balance, and I promise to return with episode one soon.