Midnite Mixtape Massacre - Baz Francis Duarte - Magic Eight Ball Print
Written by Baz Francis Duarte   
Sunday, 03 July 2016 03:00

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Since I did a Midnite Mixtape back in 2013 of a varied bunch of my musical influences, and since this is for Über Röck on the back of our Kickass Klub Nite performance at The Dolls House in Abertillery in what is EMG20, I thought I'd make my second attempt at this an homage to pretty much my all-time favourite band, the evergreen valley boys, the Manic Street Preachers. This is my oft-fluctuating favourite MSP song list and a reflection of where I'm at with them 20 years on (not including their regularly joyous cover versions here)

 

1.) ‘Little Baby Nothing’ (from the album ‘Generation Terrorists’)

 

Perhaps a subliminal influence on Magic Eight Ball's 'Come Get Your Kicks' video, lyrically this gives a much needed kick in the balls to generic male-orientated rock nonsense.

 

"Your lack of ego offends male mentality"

 

2.) ‘Never Want Again’ (originally on the B-side of 'Little Baby Nothing')

 

The Manics are the best B-sides band out there for me along with The Wildhearts, and this early track from the flipside of 'Little Baby Nothing' is my pick of the bunch. I'm surprised it's not gone on to be considered more of a classic of theirs, but there's no accounting for taste I guess.

 

"We'll go down together and meet a few of you in hell"

 

3.) ‘From Despair To Where’ (from the album ‘Gold Against the Soul’)

 

I remember first listening to this song on my generic own-brand Walkman when I was on the school bus and somewhere leant me the cassette single of it with 'Hibernation' as the B-side. This song was also what played in my head the first time a girl let me know she liked me. I was 33.

 

"Words are never enough, just cheap tarnished glitter"

 

4.) ‘Roses In The Hospital’ (from the album ‘Gold Against the Soul’)

 

A lot of guitar solos can be pretty redundant and void of emotion to me, which probably stems from the fact that at age 15 James Dean Bradfield joined Brian May as my template for what a lead guitarist should be. This is one of my favourite JDB solos that exemplifies just that.

 

"Heroin is just too trendy"

 

Portrait001 by Andrea Duarte

 

5.) ‘Yes’ (from the album ‘The Holy Bible’)

 

Straight out the blocks with the most forthright of opening lyrics to an album, the use of the c-word in it may on the surface seem to detract from that fact, but instead 'Yes' highlights that intelligence doesn't always have to mean safe.

 

"Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave"

 

6.) ‘Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayit'sworldwouldfallapart’* (from the album ‘The Holy Bible’)

 

(*typo included): This song just makes me admire James Dean Bradfield so much for his innovative guitar playing and those incredible yells before the choruses.

 

"In Compton, Harlem a pimp fucked a priest, the world has just found a new moral saviour"

 

7.) ‘A Design For Life’ (from the album ‘Everything Must Go’)

 

My life can be divided into two clear periods: those before and after I first heard 'A Design For Life'. Turning on my radio in early 1996 and hearing this explosion of sound coming out of my stereo was a defining moment in my life and began a chain of events that would bring me years’ worth of good times over the following decades.

 

"We don't talk about love"

 

8.) ‘Mr Carbohydrate’ (originally on the B-side of ‘A Design For Life’)

 

Back to the B-sides again, this song doesn't really sound like The Manics, but upon hearing it again recently I was taken by how it's remained a fond favourite of mine from those early years of musical discovery with this band. A song about crisps and cricket, I guess it is kind of as Manics as it could be!

 

"They call me a boring fuckhead, they say I might as well work in a bank"

 

Magic Eight Ball Richest Men In The Graveyard front cover artwork by Matt Whitby

 

9.) ‘Further Away’ (from the album ‘Everything Must Go’)

 

When I was 18 and in college, I actually recorded a long-lost version of this track for my A/S Level Music course. I also recorded vocals on my friends' recordings of Red Hot Chili Peppers' 'I Could Have Lied' plus a version of 'Stairway To Heaven' too, but the original of 'Further Away' is my favourite of that bunch.

 

"The circular landscape comes back only with regret"

 

10.) ‘No Surface All Feeling’ (from the album ‘Everything Must Go’)

 

Magic Eight Ball used to cover this song in the early days of the band, and at the first radio session we ever recorded (at Radio Bronglais, Aberystwyth in 2008) I began 'Local Girls' with this iconic Manics riff. The version on 'Everything Must Go' though is just thunderous and a ridiculously heavy-beautiful way to end one of my Top 3 albums of all time.

 

"No not blood just liquid from you, I only wish it was the truth"

 

11.) ‘Black Dog On My Shoulder’ (from the album ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’)

 

When this first came out I was a little unsure of the opening lyric, but I soon fell in love with both the song and gentle sentiment that didn't wallow in territory it so easily could have done given all that that had happened to this band in the few years prior to 'This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours'. Another delightful trip to the other side of Manic Street Preacherland.

 

"My dilemma but not my choice, Winston Churchill can you hear my voice?"

 

12.) ‘Empty Souls’ (from the album ‘Lifeblood’)

 

The 'Lifeblood' album gets a hard time from a lot of people including the band themselves, but 'Empty Souls' was actually their return to form for me and the first time they'd knocked me out on first attempt with a track since probably the 'Everything Must Go' record. I obviously fell in love with a load of their material from the time in between this and then, but never with the same urgency as with this. Once The Manics got their form back they really ran with it though, and I was delighted to see them get their indian summer (pun intended) in the public's adoration too.

 

"Colossal endless like a marathon, god knows what makes the comparison"

 

Baz in Liverpool Taken by Andrea Duarte and edited by Baz Francis

 

13.) ‘Postcards From A Young Man’ (from the album by the same name)

 

My final selection is this gospel-injected rock waltz. Nicky Wire once described this very kind of 'waltz' as something quite unique to his band, and with all the love in the world, I wholeheartedly agree. God save the Manics!

 

"I won't betray your confidence, I won't pretend my way was lost"

 

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Eight_Ball

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https://www.reverbnation.com/magiceightball

 

Photographs courtesy of Andrea Duarte

 

The CD version of ‘Richest Men In The Graveyard’ on Magic Cat Records right HERE. The downloadable-version that features two exclusive acoustic session bonus tracks you can now pre-order that on iTunes HERE.