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> > > > IroniCrip Disco presents the best of the worst

15 November 2014

Richard Downes is an avid music-lover with a very large music collection, so when it came to commissioning a feature that highlights some of the less savoury ways in which disability gets represented, musically he was an obvious writer to ask. Drawing on a knowledge of some of the more obscure elements of popular music, IroniCrip Disco exemplifies how often we might hear a song and only subliminally recognise any meaning within it.

I love the Social Model of Disability. I love music. They're not always compatible. Especially when non-disabled musicians take on disability issues.

We've all been there. Heard the song that gets it completely wrong, winding us up something terrible. I've finished with that. I'm here to celebrate the wrong and the ridiculous.

IroniCrip Disco has over 60 songs to plunder, three hours of unsound sounds blasting out.  I present the first ten songs you'd hear at one of my shows and truly it starts with a fanfare; 24 seconds, lyric free and perfectly safe; Sufjan Stevens - The Year of the Asthmatic Cat.

 

All sounds live here punk, rock, soul, country and blues. Here's a folky one. The Clancy Brothers leading us through a tryst between The Stuttering Lovers.

"He kissed her once and he kissed her twice
He kissed her ten time o'er
O its nice to be kissing that bonny wee lass
That's never been kissed befe, fe, fe, fe, fore, my lads"

A stammer is so easy to mimic in song. I prefer the 'f' stammer in The Who's My Generation where it seems to have a different purpose, but the Clancy's hit the button in assuming we stammerers are imminently unlovable and most unlikely to be kissable except when hidden in the corn.

Disability, impairment, life-limiting illness, which is it and why? The Fiery Furnaces may or may not have asthma but they know when they're likely to get it: "I woulda had a asthma attack
If I seen the shark bite back".

Some things just make you wanna catch your breath?

Then there are songs I genuinely love. This one appears twice. Two artists. Two titles. Mose Allison gives Eyesight To The Blind whilst Sonny Boy Williamson just calls it Born Blind but here's a classic rub: my girl's so pretty "Every time the little girl start to loving she bring eyesight to the blind" and "Every time she start to loving, the deaf and dumb begin to talk".

So we know where to go for a cure. And pretty cheap too.

Now for some 'Country' in the refined shape of the great Willie Nelson and his stupendous Half A Man.

Willie would settle for amputation, lameness, deafness and blindness:

"If I’d only, had one arm to hold her
better yet if I had none at all.
Then I wouldn't have two arms that ache for you
And there'd be one less memory to recall".

Great songwriter Willie Nelson. That's why he makes a later appearance with Crazy.

There was only ever one Elvis for me. He always struck me as a knock kneed, skinny, half-blind geek (before putting some weight on). Here is his cover of Sam and Dave's, Can't Stand Up For Falling Down.

I'm not sure why he can't but he hits on something real here:

"Why I'm not loved the way I should be,
Now I've lived with heartaches and I've roomed with fear,
I've dealt with despair and I've wrestled with tears".

Of cause its in response to love gone wrong and the falling over could have as much to do with alcoholism.

I couldn't tell you what speech impairment Tongue Tied Jill has but Charlie Feathers loves her and I love rock-a-billy. It's real dance floor filler.

Sticking with speech impairments and as a stammerer myself it feels good to be included here's stammering John Lee Hooker's Stuttering Blues with ne'er a word out of place.

When this was first a hit I was still in special school. Madness seemed desirable in comparison, but looking back on it now I see Napoleon XIV and I got so much wrong when looking forward to them Coming To Take Me Away and yet something right too:

"They're coming to take me away
ho ho he he ha ha
to the loony bin with all you can eat
prescription drugs like thorizine,
and lithium and electric shock and insulin"

So we came in on a fanfare and we go out on an instrumental, the late, great, James Brown, from blaxploitation movie 'Black Caesar', 'Blind Man Can See It but can you?'

Comments

Steve1978

/
13 June 2016

Willie Nelson is my favorite! Really amazing musician and singer, Let's Face The Music And Dance http://lyricsmusic.name/willie-nelson-lyrics/ best album ever.

Colin Hambrook

/
6 February 2015

There's a great line: "I'm still awake. I've known all along. If you aint crazy there's something wrong."

Rich Downes

/
4 February 2015

Had such a good time watching the waterboys last night just felt I had to add Still A Freak from the new album Modern Blues. I'm sure Mike doesn't mean us but when he talks about flying the flag etc I'd sure like that he was

richard downes

/
22 December 2014

Never let it be said that the Ironicrip Disco eats humbugs at this time of year

richard downes

/
8 December 2014

I see what you're saying

richard downes

/
8 December 2014

Bet you have more Bob to go along with astute analyses like this one

Rich Downes

/
30 November 2014

And in at 9 making it a hat trick for blind folk Amy Winehouse heard that love is blind. Seems like the stats are mounting up the blind folk could well win this one.

Rich Downes

/
30 November 2014

In at 6 and really pushing the ante up for the number of songs about blindness (usually associated with love don't you know); Love Is Blind by the Bobettes. I think its what you call Northern Soul but others just say soul. I wouldn't put an r in front of it

Rich Downes

/
30 November 2014

The first 10 songs at an ironicrip disco have changed since researching this project. We have a new no 3,6, and 9 strangly maths fans and the all came in without a bullet. The new number 3 a very very very strange number known as Blind Man's Penis (Peace and Love). Apparently it was originally called Stevie Wonder's Penis. Can't remember the lyric from earlier readings but it think it includes the line a blind man's penis is erect because it is erect.

Rich Downes

/
29 November 2014

I seem to remember it was generally reviled by anyone with taste

Colin Hambrook

/
29 November 2014

In case you didn't know a calliope is a musical instrument that produces sound by sending a gas, originally steam or more recently compressed air, through large whistles—originally locomotive whistles.

Colin Hambrook

/
29 November 2014

Here we go with another 'blind' metaphor: Manfred Mann's 'Blinded by the Light' - a strange tribute to the more's of amphetamine use.

"Madman drummers bummers,

Indians in the summer with a teenage diplomat

In the dumps with the mumps as the adolescent pumps his way into his hat

With a boulder on my shoulder, feelin' kinda older,

I tripped the merry-go-round

With this very unpleasin', sneezin' and wheezin,

the calliope crashed to the ground

The calliope crashed to the ground

But she was...

Blinded by the light,

revved up like a deuce,

runner in the night

Just read the lyrics at http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/blow/blindedbythelight.htm

Colin Hambrook

/
29 November 2014

LIz Porter put me on to Lionel Ritchie's classic video of 'Hello'. It was reviled mercilessly by the visually impaired community in the 1980s. This has to be the cheesiest bit of 'blind' acting ever..

Colin Hambrook

/
29 November 2014

It's incredible how often 'blindness' is used as a metaphor for being not being able to listen!

Rich Downes

/
28 November 2014

I was looking at photos of telethon 92 the other day and was pleased to see a very young looking Alan Holdsworth. Well that might have been some time ago now but his musical taste is even older. Noted a comment on one of the you tube links for this which said; 'I have a limp and my dad always sang this to me'. So, as to play it straight one more time

Rich Downes

/
28 November 2014

Gemma Nash proposed one of my top bands; Primal Scream rocking themselves to sleep whilst cryinig myself blind.

Rich Downes

/
28 November 2014

Karen Sheader plumps for Nobody's Child which I guess is another of those that has been covered to death. My own story relates to my friends Tom and Rita. We were having dinner together. Tom was remembering an album that one of his blind peers bought into the school. It was by Hank Snow and was called; 'When Tragedy Struck'. Imagine. Tom was particularly fond of 'A Little Box Of Pine'. 'Blind Boys Dog' hit the spot for me but its Karen's choice.

Rich Downes

/
27 November 2014

on another facebook thread Sylvia Kirby reminded me of this absolute corker

Rich Downes

/
27 November 2014

And at the risk of becoming a Who Tribute Sight...

See Me Feel Me Touch Me .... wait for it.... Heal Me

Rich Downes

/
27 November 2014

Here he is

Colin Hambrook

/
24 November 2014

"Gor Blimey!" as they used to say in my family when I was growing up!

Rich Downes

/
20 November 2014

And after Bob's comment who can resist Ruby now

Rich Downes

/
20 November 2014

Robin also mentioned wide eyed and legless by andy fairweather low. I'd forgotten that one. Robin says its interesting. I'll have to check out this vid to find out more. I remember the man from way back in the amen corner day and have seen him play with Van Morrison and Roger waters and no I'm not talking about the Pete Townsend angle.

Rich Downes

/
20 November 2014

Covered to death, mentioned by Robin Surgeoner. I love so many versions of this song especially the source,the queeb of soul, Etta James.... that I couldn't put the sacred lady's video ujp. But Beyoncé plays Etta in a film about the brilliant Chess label

Robin Surgeoner

/
19 November 2014

So many songs with so much negative imagery out there. I can't help noticing them all the time. Such as I'd rather go blind - I don't think you would. Wide eyed and legless is interesting and Jake the Peg now has a whole new meaning

Bob Williams-Findlay

/
19 November 2014

"Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town" is a classic for combining stereotypical themes about impairment, sexuality and unsatisfied needs. The song mirrors D H Lawrence's narrative that significant impairment and manhood are crippled thus making the disabled man incapable of performing his basic social duties. The positioning of the woman/wife within both the song and book reinforce the construction that the 'female' is reduced to being property or a whore.

Rich Downes

/
18 November 2014

and if you want Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand to be about a girl with CP then why not?

Rich Downes

/
18 November 2014

The Who are such classicists in this unremitting field Deborah. Rock OPera Tommy with that deaf DUMB AND BLIND boy. I also understood that Pictures of Lily was about masturbation too. Perhaps Pete Townsend was trying to tell us something.

But to celebrate your selections

Deborah Caulfield

/
18 November 2014

Love this.

You mention several of my own favourites, including Mose Allison (I'm gonna find me some kind of a companion/Even if she's dumb, deaf, cripple and blind).

I always thought The Who's 'Mary-Ann with the Shaky Hand' was about a girl with CP but turns out it's about masturbation ...

To be continued...

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