A short while back, we took a look at the tracks that had disappeared down the back of a flourescent leopardskin print sofa between the original 1996 release of epochal vogue-surfing compilation This Is… Easy, and the rearranged 2004 version. Now, in response to popular demand (a whole one reader!), here’s an overview of the tracks that found their way onto the rejigged tracklisting in place of poor old Count Indigo…
Laurie Johnson – Jason King
Storming single arrangement of the theme from Peter Wyngarde’s adventures in tracking down stolen cans of soup, and more than an adequate replacement for any of the tracks that fell by the wayside. Funny how they didn’t see fit to include anything from Mr Wyngarde’s own album, though.
Max Greger – Big Train
One of the key discoveries of original This Is… Easy-rivalling compilation series In-Flight Entertainment, though doubtless only included here on account of its use to herald yet another hilarious sketch featuring Simon Pegg as a man who’s employed ‘Belouis’ ‘Some’ to work as a spinal surgeon or something.
Cyril Stapleton Singers – Ticket To Ride
Cor! This bit-in-the-middle-of-The-Paul-Daniels-Magic-Show-style interpretation is a top-notch example of ‘Dinners’-refitting and no mistake, and more impressively still sounds distinctly as though it may have been dubbed from vinyl.
Burt Bacharach – South American Getaway
Demented soundtrack-derived Swingle-aping scat jazz yodelling seemingly tailor made for scenes of Father Unwin drivelybold down dual carriagelyscraven, not only utterly fab but also lasts for about ten years and seems to restart unexpectedly every time you think it’s stopped. This is all going pretty well so far.
Sam Fonteyn – Pop Looks Bach
Otherwise known as the theme from Ski Sunday, and despite its near-legendary Sunday Afternoon silliness compulsiveness, a bit of an odd choice for this collection.
Quincy Jones – Soul Bossa Nova
As heard on TV ‘Austin Powers’, one of those records that everyone knows even if they don’t know the name of it (and even if they only know it to shout “my definition, my definition is this” over the top), and something that had previously been a glaring omission from the set.
Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 – Mas Que Nada
You can’t go wrong with Sergio Mendes, and you can’t go wrong with Mas Que Nada, so this replacement for the previous set’s reading of Chelsea Morning is a winning combination from the off. I liked it when he painted the future.
Tak Shindo – Stumbling
One of the more mysterious offerings of either volume, Tak Shindo hails from the very furthest reaches of that short-lived Stereolab-instigated fad for ‘Space Age Bachelor Pad’ music, which would seem to promise much but sadly this is a rather pedestrian neither here nor there tune that passes by in a haze of sounding a bit like Blankety Blank.
Wilson Simonal – Nem Vem Que Nao Tem
Another slightly mysterious offering, off of that ‘World Music’, but one will be instantly familiar from That Advert, and also to anyone who knows it better as Tu Veux Ou Tu Veux Pas by Brigitte Bardot, who had the added advantage of generally forgetting to wear anything other than her pants.
Earl Grant – House Of Bamboo
Wow, all the big names are here! Whoever Earl Grant actually was – and he seems to have been some sort of meeting point between Russ Conway and Mike Lindup, calling on the assistance of a ‘bank of keyboards’ made up of pianos and Hammond Organs – this is a pretty good rendition of a song more normally associated with a certain gentleman we’ll be hearing more of in a minute, once that bear has finished asking him for ‘cookies’…
The Mike Flowers Pops – Wonderwall
And so the much-derided lynchpin of the spoof Easy Listening ‘characters’ steps into the place once occupied by his old mucker Count Indigo, with that notorious Oasis cover that was dismissed as a bit of throwaway novelty garbage at the time, but now sounds weirdly desolate and melancholy in the same manner as the opening theme from Mary Mungo & Midge, like a poignant coda to the entire Britpop experience.
Billy J Kramer – Trains And Boats And Planes
Sorry, where were we? Ah yes… this Bacharach cover is something of an archive gem but at the same time is a real fish out of water here, as it’s not so much the sound of Easy Listening as it is the last desperate spluttering of ‘Merseybeat’ as it made an ill-fated attempt to emulate Rubber Soul-style arrangements while taking care to avoid alienating the Saturday Night At The Sunday Palladium audience, before being filed away irretrievably in a filing cabinet marked ‘The Past’. It also, it must be said, bears a disconcerting resemblance to The Proclaimers’ Sunshine On Leith.
Cilla Black – Alfie
This was and remains the song that turns up at the end and ruins everything after nigh on two hours of joyful subdued urban jazzy noodling. Cilla Black was and remains a screeching harridan who voiced one too many opinions in favour of Thatcher and against ‘students’, and presided over one of the most cheap and nasty (in both senses) shows ever seen on television. The ‘Next Track’ button was and remains just over there.
The Noveltones – Left Bank II
In other words, the music from Tony Hart’s ‘The Gallery’ that is claimed to be ‘remembered’ by millions of people who, in strict scientific and chronological terms, should only be able to remember Cavatina or that dub reggae thing. Fun when heard in full on an old library LP, less fun when faded out early as it is here. And least fun of all when used on hilariously ‘retro’ advert for fuck knows what with some kid in an afro and thick glasses carrying a sign saying “WHEN IS GRIMLEYS ON?”.
Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin – Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus
And so the much-banned ode to ‘physical lovemaking’ finally finds its way into polite society. Sorry Mrs Whitehouse.
Peter Sarstedt – Where Do You Go To My Lovely?
I can’t put this any better than John Walters did, so will simply add that This Should Not Be On Any Compilation Ever.
Peter Paul & Mary – Leaving On A Jet Plane
Surely more Folk Rock than Easy Listening, but a corking and surprisingly little-heard erstwhile chart smash by the trio who were all too easily confused with a certain girl/dog/mouse trio all the same, even if it is now impossible to listen to without being troubled by images of their extending legs.
Chris Montez – The More I See You
Call Me gets replaced by the it has to be said ‘similar’ follow-up hit. BUY ORANGE DRINK.
Andy Williams – Can’t Get Used To Losing You
Amen & Hallelujah! It’s sad to see Music To Watch Girls By (inspiration for Blur’s Peter Panic) dropped from the tracklisting, but if it had to be to make way for this superlative New York Street Scene-evoking psychedelia-inventing curiously-image-of-’Stevo’-off-of-Home-And-Away-generating marvel of modern musical science, then so be it. Give that bear a million ‘cookies’!
Engelbert Humperdinck – From Here To Eternity
Undistinguished ‘steamy’ film-theming from the man who sold seventy four thousand million records in 1967 and is therefore ‘better’ than Burning Of The Midnight Lamp by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. No, bloke on YouTube said!
Julie London – Fly Me To The Moon
“These new 5p coins, don’t like ‘em, they’re too fiddly, I preferred the old shilling, that was really worth a bob”.
Peggy Lee – The Boy From Ipanema
Lordy, they really are trying to get the list filled up before the home time bell rings, aren’t they. As you can imagine, not a patch on Astrud Gilberto’s breathy I-am-not-thinking-about-doing-sapphic-things-to-her-no-I-am-not-no jazzy murmurings. Seriously, what’s the point?
Bobby Womack – California Dreaming
Middling attempt at ‘doing’ but misunderstanding what Jose Feliciano did to Light My Fire, which loses points by opening the music industry door for Mr Womack’s younger brother to later do that awful “She cries on every toon! Every toon!” record.
Sandie Shaw – (There Is) Always Something There To Remind Me
The proper version, rather than that cheapo latterday remake, at last. Instead, that’s now going on a new compilation entitled This Is… The Very Weirdest Sandie Shaw-Associated Records In The World… Ever!, alongside Steven (You Don’t Eat Meat), Theme From The Evil Dead, Nick Berry’s cover of Long Live Love, and that bizarre Simon Mayo session from 1994 where she improvised a song about looking at “boobies in Wonderbras”. No, really.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is ‘easy’.