Category Archives: B-Sides

Never Said

As I was slightly late to The Wedding Present train, the first time I heard this song was when I got Tommy (a godsend for people like me at the time) which compiled all the early singles with some b-sides and radio sessions. That this song was ‘merely’ a b-side to ‘My Favourite Dress’ was a bit of a surprise to me.

I loved everything about it: the yearning guitars, pounding drum and bass, the pinpoint and heartfelt lyrics sung with both snarl and sadness. It was a tale of such poignancy that it felt like it was ripped from a diary entry that I’d yet to write. This sounded like the sort of thing that would happen to me one day.

Like many songs from this era, it whips along at a frantic pace. Before you know it, the song is over and the narrator is alone. Metaphorically it leaves you breathless with how quickly, and badly, things can sometimes go wrong. Love can be confusing.

So, nearly thirty years on and I still love this song. I never thought the love would last but people get used to things so fast.

Questions and Answers with David Lewis Gedge:

Did this ever come close to being on George Best?

DLG: No, this was in that batch of pre – George Best songs that were just used on the early singles (and ended up being compiled on Tommy, of course). That’s because, with the exception of ‘My Favourite Dress,’ we decided to not use any songs on George Best that had already been released.

Did you deliberately write this song with its relentless momentum to create the feeling of rushing into and out of love?

DLG: I think 90% of the arrangements at that time had that relentless momentum! I like the way this gallops away right from the first plectrum hit on those deadened strings. Those guitars owe a lot to Josef K, I think… and Postcard Records.

As with many other songs, there is an argument at the heart of the song. What are you personally like in arguments? Do you avoid them, enjoy them? Are you a sulker, a shouter, do you try and always fix the issue or would you rather walk away and let the situation cool off?

DLG: I definitely do not like arguments and try my very best to avoid them. I’m not a fan of confrontation but I suppose I like to think that I would stand up for myself if provoked! It depends on the situation, doesn’t it?

One of two songs to specifically reference “Manchester”. Considering you’ve had a few places that you’ve called home, what do you think of the place now in comparison?

DLG: I’m actually typing this in the van as we drive to Stowmarket after playing Going, Going… in Manchester last night. Well, Salford, actually… but, yes, I always enjoy returning there and there’s definitely a feeling of going ‘home’. People speak with the same accent as me and there’s definitely a culture that resonates.

There are some perfectly observed lyrics in this song. What did your dad think of his car being immortalised in song?

DLG: It’s one of those songs where it’s almost as if I’m reading entries from my diary. I’m sure that my dad has never noticed the reference to his car although he did recently ask me to send him printouts of all my lyrics.

Official Lyrics:

I haven’t heard this song in years; it never fails to start the tears
A country lane and the smell of pine, a stripey blouse and some cheap English wine
And my dad’s car would never start but one phone call rescued two love hearts
And did I splash mud on your coat?
Yeah, you wore mine and I got cold

Just what went wrong?
You never said just what went wrong
You never said just what went wrong

We’ve got some good friends still in Manchester
Sometimes I think I’d like to live back there
Oh that was just embarrassing; at times I say the most stupid things
And then your name’s still mentioned next to mine
That’s what you hated at the time
I know I said that it just couldn’t last but people get used to things so fast

Just what went wrong?
You never said just what went wrong

I’ve walked behind you for more than an hour
I don’t even think that I know this part of town
I think I’m trying to find a way to talk to you again
I think I’m trying to find a way to bring you back again
Oh won’t you please come back again

Written and published by Gedge, whose publishing is administered outside of the UK & Eire by Fintage Publishing BV except for North America where it is administered by Superior Music.

Studio Versions:

1 – ‘My Favourite Dress’ b-side [Reception Records REC005] TIME: 2:37
Available on Tommy deluxe edition [Edsel Records EDSJ9005]
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory(bass); Shaun Charman (drums);  Chris Allison & The Wedding Present (producers)
Released 13/02/1987.

2 – John Peel Session
Available on Tommy deluxe edition [Edsel Records EDSJ9005] TIME: 2:38
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar);  Mike Stout (bass); Shaun Charman (drums);  Dale Griffin (producer)

Recorded at BBC Maida Vale, Studio 3 on 26/10/1986. First broadcast on 25/11/1986.

the-wedding-present-my-favourite-dress-12-single-_57 theweddingpresentmyfavouritedress392899

Tommy
Tommy

Live Versions:

1 – Live 1987 (Leicester version) TIME: 4:03
Available on Live 1987 [Scopitones Records TONE CD025]
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory(bass); Shaun Charman (drums)

Recorded live at the Polytechnic, Leicester on 05/05/1987.
Originally released on the Live Tape #1 cassette.

2 – Live 1987 (München version) TIME: 2:03
Available on Live 1987 [Scopitones Records TONE CD025]
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory(bass); Shaun Charman (drums)

Recorded live at the Alabama-Halle, München on 22/11/1987.
Originally released on the Live Tape #2 cassette.

3 – Live 1988 version TIME: 2:50
Available on Live 1988 [Scopitones Records TONE CD033]
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory(bass); Simon Smith(drums)

Recorded in Rotterdam on 30/03/1988.
Originally released on the Live Tape #3 cassette.

Live 1987
Live 1987

 

 

Live 1988
Live 1988

Live: 

‘Never Said’ was a regular staple of the band’s setlist from 1986 through to 1988 but has been played very very rarely since. In fact I’m not sure of when it was last played live. If anyone can remember, let me know!

EDIT: Thanks to several commentators who have told me that it was played on four dates in the UK in May 2008.

Video:

No official video exists so this will have to do.

Advertisement

One Day This Will All Be Yours

Lyrics:

And they were left all alone
On that fateful day the budgie had a stroke
1940’s bliss…how could it come to this?

Forgotten things they once knew
And now there’s really only one thing left to do
But I think that I’m more scared
Because this country doesn’t care

And one day this will all be yours
And one day this will all be yours

And one day this will all be yours
And one day this will all be yours

But there were bluer skies
When you were just a twinkle in our eyes
Oh but you don’t have to stay
But thank you anyway

All About Eve

Lyrics:

“Tom”
I’ve read this page a thousand times
It’s the only way that I could find to carry on
“Say. Isn’t it a good life over here?
And can you catch another can of beer?
So sharp, so clear
You bet! And a good kaffir I’ve never met
But you know this heat will make them sweat!”
Tin wall, hot flesh
Oh man, I’m too full of hate to shake your hand
And don’t you ever call me your friend
He’ll take this land

Did you try to imagine the hate
That a young boy could feel?
Did you try to imagine the hate
That a young boy could feel?

Big game; four begging children by the train

The Afrikaner does the same
Then gets back on again
And who’s she?
“They call her Black Revolution Eve”
On the master’s land she sowed some seeds
Today she leaves

Did you try to imagine the hate
That a young boy could feel?
Did you try to imagine the hate
That a young boy could feel?
Did you try to imagine the hate
That a young boy could feel?
Did you try to imagine the hate
That a young boy could feel?

Every Mother’s Son

Lyrics:

You could hardly hope to please me; you haven’t got that voice
A man just needs his mother back; a woman’s got a choice
A little boy means strife and joy in sickness and in health
A man’s got to have his mother back, a woman’s got herself, oh, a woman’s got herself

Oh, will you help me, will you hold me, will you miss me when I’ve gone?
A woman’s got to have her mother’s boy so that her man is on his own
Will you excuse my little weakness, will you tell me, “That’s all right”?
A woman’s got to have her mother’s boy so that her man comes back each night
Oh, that man comes home each night

Living and Learning

Lyrics:

If you said that it was nice, would you feel the same way twice
Or was it me who said “there’s no forever”?
When the twilight’s in the sky, there’s a twinkle in your eye
God knows just why they seem to go together

When we’re walking in the park and staying out till dark
You know I’ve got to face the world tomorrow
If we feel a slight disgrace, it’s well hidden in that case
The furthest thing from both our hearts is sorrow

Oh, you must know that wrong or right, I’m going to need your help tonight
I don’t care what she says, we can do it anyway
Oh we can do it anyway

If you’re standing in the light, make sure I’m out of sight
I can’t afford to be seen from your window
And the closeness that we feel, is surely never real
It’s what we are, not what we’ll be tomorrow

You must know, wrong or right, I’m going to need your help tonight
I can say without a doubt, it’s going to be the end when she finds out

(The Moment Before) Everything’s Spoiled Again

Lyrics:

Have I said something wrong?
How can I know if you’re not going to speak to me?
There I am, in your eyes
And we’re only playing, but what am I saying?
Oh what am I saying?
Oh what am I saying?Oh there’s no one like you, no one like that now
There’s always some way that you could bring me downMaybe it’s just that I fly too high, that the ground is hard
It always hurts me
When I fall over sideways and break out in sores and people start laughing
But it’s not what I’m into

I don’t expect you to know
I don’t expect you to know

And when the sound of your laughter is getting too hard and people start staring
But nowhere is better than lying down here with you
Oh, and no one’s supposed to know how I feel

But I don’t expect you to know
I don’t expect you to know

Oh, it’s just that I don’t want you to go
It’s just that I don’t want you to go
Oh, don’t leave me alone again
I never wanted that again
Oh, don’t leave me alone again
I never wanted that again

 

At The Edge Of The Sea

I’ll keep this short and sweet, much like the song itself. This very early song in the canon of The Wedding Present shows a changing point in the songwriting of David Gedge. This was one of the few examples of poetic song-writing that was soon to go away but many staple elements of the band’s new power was shining through – fast, loud instruments and buried vocals. However the lyrics that could be deciphered were slightly odd for Gedge as they described love, and for once a relationship, that was happy and joyful. It holds mystery in its lines and like sand it slips through our fingers.

Questions and Answers with David Lewis Gedge:

The lyrics evoke a seaside. Is any particular memory linked to this?

DLG: Yes. It was inspired by the coasts of The Fylde and Yorkshire, both of which I know very well. Apart from a year spent in South Africa, I grew up in Manchester and so places like Blackpool [the ‘golden mile’ in the lyric refers to a section of the promenade between the North and South piers] were our nearest seaside. Then, when I went to live in Leeds, that all changed to Scarborough and Whitby. I’ve always been drawn to the seaside. I love it!

Incidentally, there’s also a ‘golden mile’ in Scarborough, too… but that’s the Scarborough district of Toronto in Canada!

The lyrics are quite poetic in places, which is unusual for you. Did you feel uncomfortable writing that way?

DLG: I was still honing my style around this time. It is quite poetic, isn’t it? To be honest, when we play this live, it’s almost as if I’m singing words that have been written by someone else!

This was released as a B-side to the second Wedding Present single but did it start off as a Lost Pandas song?

DLG: It was written about the same time as ‘Go Out And Get ‘Em, Boy!’ and ‘Once More’ so, though it sounds like it might have been a Lost Pandas song, it never was…

The song title is now re-birthed as the name of your now regular annual festival in Brighton. You’ve also lived in and around that area of Sussex for many years now (when you’re not jet-setting and touring). What do you like about that area of the country?

DLG: As a northerner I think I’m supposed to view anywhere in the south with a certain amount of suspicion [if not loathing, ha, ha…] but Brighton is one of my favourite cities in the world. It’s extremely arty and there’s always loads of stuff going on… loads of musicians live here, actually.

And, to be a bit more boring, for a musician it’s also useful to be so near to London and the airports and ferries and channel tunnel, too.

The song starts (and continues) with that glorious bass riff. Was that all Keith’s doing? What was he like to work with in terms of song-writing?

DLG: Yes, Keith came up with that [marvellous!] bass line as he did on all the songs written up until his leaving of the band. It’s what you’d maybe call a ‘busy’ riff… but those kinds of bass lines made an important contribution to the music and often carried most of the melody if the guitars were thrashing away. They often sound more like vocal parts, actually. Keith was also central to the song-arranging process and so I was very worried that when he left the band that the overall standard of song writing would suffer because we’d be losing his input.

Who is crying out at the end of the song and what are they saying?

DLG: Speaking of Keith… it’s him! He’s saying “Oh, shit!” It was a perfect take apart from the very last bass note, which he played incorrectly. The recording engineer [at the studio in Bradford where it was recorded] just ‘dropped him in’ to correct the note as an overdub, of course, but the cry of frustration is still on the drum tracks. I think we quite liked it being there, anyway!

Any other thoughts about the song?

DLG: It’s jangletastic but there’s a great vocal melody to go along with that bass line and all those guitar riffs. With the advent of my festival the song has taken on an extra poignancy to me now. It almost feels like I’ve come full circle… from the beaches of The Fylde to the beaches of Sussex!

Official Lyrics:

We lie in this salty embrace
A sunny day, this special place
Tonight the sea is ours
And restless, with sand in our shoes
A golden mile, that special smile
Asleep in lovers’ arms

And if heaven sent a kiss, would it be something like this?
Would it soar above the waves?
Is that how a kiss behaves?
Is that how a kiss behaves?

And colours so icy and bright are swimming round my head tonight
A clear and sleepy tide
But watch with a heavier heart as I try to tear it all apart
With a greed that’s all my own

And if heaven sent a kiss, would it be something like this?
Would it soar above the waves?
Is that how a kiss behaves?
Is that how a kiss behaves?
Why don’t you tell me?

Written and published by Gedge [whose publishing is administered outside of the UK & Eire by Fintage Publishing BV].

Studio Versions:

1 – Once More [REC002] b-side – released 31/01/1986 TIME: 2:39

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory(bass); Shaun Charman (drums);  Carl Rosamond (producer)

2 – Andy Kershaw session version – recorded at Yellow 2, Stockport 07/11/1985 TIME: 2:25
First broadcast – 26/11/1985 Released on Edsel Records reissue of Tommy [EDSJ 9005]

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory(bass); Shaun Charman (drums)

Live: 

This song hasn’t appeared much since it’s initial outings in the mid 80s although it’s come out again on a few set-lists probably thanks to the festival of the same name having revitalised it.

Video:

There is a brief bit of promotional video material that appeared on the Spunk video compilation and also the Tommy (Edsel records re-issue) but here’s a simple youtube clip of the song:

Once More
Once More
Tommy
Tommy

Don’t Talk, Just Kiss

It was February of 1990 and things were about to change. The Wedding Present had recently come out of the studio with renowned engineer (not producer!) Steve Albini, he of Pixies, Nirvana, Black Flag etc. fame. According to David Gedge at the time, he might finally be able to reproduce the ferocious sound that the Leeds-based band had so far not been able to capture on record. The Brassneck EP [RCA ‎– PT43404] was the first result of that collaboration and it was a blessing from the gods. Four tracks of blistering and powerful guitars including the finest song ever recorded in the title track. Nestled comfortably on that EP was Don’t Talk, Just Kiss, a song of yearning and lust.

The protagonist is pleading with the girl to forget her boyfriend (“He’s probably not even there”). There’s a desperation inherent in the lyrics familiar to many a young male. Nothing is more important than this moment even if it involves cheating and infidelity. “Don’t talk, just kiss”: so simple and yet words that resound with anyone who has ever been drawn to someone they can’t or shouldn’t have.

The most striking thing about this song however and something that really comes across live is the tempo change between the verses and the choruses. Twice, the verse leads into a ferocious storm of guitar as the drums double up in speed and lead into the “If you’re worried he’s so near” segment. At a gig, this has always led to an uncontrollable amount of moshing, such is the excitement that this combination of speed and rhythm and noise create.

Questions and Answers with David Gedge:

Do you have any memories of how the idea first came to you?

DLG: I have a vague memory that “Don’t Talk, Just Kiss!” was the title of a novel I saw in a bookshop once and the idea of how lust can be so powerful that it can overcome the need for conversation immediately appealed to me!

Any general thoughts on the song now and whether you like playing it live?

DLG:  It’s an exciting song to play live, primarily because the fast bit is so frantic. Charles Layton [drums; The Wedding Present, 2005 onwards] agrees and adds: “I love playing this song live. It has a great driving and punky feel to it… from the two thumping drum hits at the beginning to the guitar driven verse and then the double time chorus. The bass intro back to second verse is a nice touch, too. An early precursor to Corduroy, I feel!”

Is there anything you would change about the song now?

DLG: From a boring technical point of view I think it should be in a slightly higher key because the vocal is right at the bottom of my range. The only other annoying thing is that the pop group Right Said Fred released a single the year after we released “Don’t Talk, Just Kiss” with exactly the same title… and theirs went to Number 3 in the British charts!

I remember hearing this song live for the first time. It was ferocious and hasn’t let up since. Do you deliberately play it as aggressively as possible knowing it will generate a massive physical response?

DLG: It’s not played like that just to generate a response, no… it’s just that a certain amount of aggression is required for the playing of some Wedding Present songs… and this definitely falls into that category!

Did a specific incident lead to this song? Some of the lines seem so spot-on that I can’t imagine any of it being ‘made-up’. Lines about missing trains and waking up “near you” put this in the sometimes-rare category of ‘Romantic Songs’. Do you find it as easy to write such happy, thrilling lyrics as this compared to the more painful, angst-ridden ones?

DLG: I find it difficult to write any kind of lyric, to be honest, which is why I spend a long time doing them. If an incident in a song hasn’t happened to me directly I’m usually writing from the point of view of… if this had happened to me, what would I think? What would I say? What would I do? Etc. In this case I wanted the lyric to match the urgency and impatience of the fast section.

At the time it felt wasted as a b-side. I remember people thinking it should be a single before it appeared on the Brassneck EP. Any thoughts to it being an a-side?

DLG:  I think that any song that reaches a standard high enough for us to consider recording has the potential of becoming a single. I guess we just thought Brassneck was the more appropriate song for the A-side on this occasion.

The tempo change for the chorus was a first for you I think. Any idea what inspired that?

DLG:  When we are arranging a tune we will try countless different ways of playing it until something clicks. That kind of tempo change technique only suits certain songs, though… so we don’t use it that often. But it when it does work it can really enhance an arrangement.

Official Lyrics:

He didn’t see me
He sort of looked uneasy but I’m sure he didn’t guess
Oh, he’s never liked me
And, yes, OK… it might be a bit better if you left
Oh, was it me who said that?
No please, come straight back
You’ve got to stay with me somehow
Well, say you missed your train
What have you got to gain by leaving here right now?

If you’re worried he’s so near you might as well go back
You were never here, oh, why would I say that?
Look, everybody lies about this
Don’t talk, just kiss!

If you’re worried he’s so near you might as well go back
You were never here, oh, why would I say that?
Look, everybody lies about this
Don’t talk, just kiss!

I want to wake up near you
Oh, yes, of course I hear you but you’re just off back to row
Well, put yourself above him
Look… if you really loved him I don’t think you’d be here now
Oh, come on, what do you care?
He’s probably not even there
Oh, yes, I’m sure he’d sit and wait|
It’s just whenever you touch…
Oh, God, I want you so much
And you can’t say it’s too late

If you’re worried he’s so near you might as well go back
You were never here, oh, why would I say that?|
Look, everybody lies about this
Don’t talk, just kiss!

If you’re worried he’s so near you might as well go back
You were never here, oh, why would I say that?
Look, everybody lies about this
Don’t talk, just kiss!

Don’t talk, just kiss
Don’t talk, just kiss
Don’t talk, just kiss
Don’t talk, just kiss

Written and published by Gedge. Gedge’s publishing is administered outside of the UK & Eire by Fintage Music International.

Studio Versions:

1 – Brassneck EP version  released 05/02/1990  [RCA PT43404] TIME: 3:16

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Peter Solowka (guitar); Keith Gregory (bass) and Simon Smith (drums) Engineer: Steve Albini;  Mastered by: Miles Showell

Live Versions:

1 – Shepherd’s Bush Welcomes released 2007 [SECRET RECORDINGS CRIDEBI] TIME: 3:26

Recorded 20/11/2005 at Shepherds Bush Empire, London
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry de Castro (bass); Simon Pearson (drums) Mixed & mastered: Roger Lomas; Live Sound Mixed: Christopher McConville

2008-03-04_brass

Shepherd's Bush Welcomes

Live:

Played regularly from 1989 to 1991 and then on and off since the reformation in 2005. In 1989, it often opened the shows such was its popularity.
It was finally officially released as a live version in 2007 on the Shepherds Bush Welcomes cd [Secret Records Limited ‎– CRIDE81] plus there’s the appearance on the video Spunk which combined live performances with promo videos (See below).

Video: 

From Spunk: