The Top Ten Creation/Heavenly Rarities

To tie in with the release of Higher Than The Sun, here's a list of my favourite rarities, obscurities and downright oddities from the Heavenly Recordings and Creation Records vaults. And no, funnily enough, it doesn't include Like A Snowflake.

Primal Scream - Come Together (Hypnotone Brain Machine Mix)

When Primal Scream started messing around with dance music, they really didn't know what they were doing - which, let's face it, is how and why it ended up working so well - and that all-important follow-up to Loaded took several attempts to nail. Most readers will know the Andrew Weatherall version of Come Together that ended up on Screamadelica, which takes the song on a journey through the furthest reaches of space with The Reverend Jesse Jackson at the controls. Others will be familiar with the Terry Farley-helmed single version, locked neatly into a more traditional post-Madchester groove. But how many have heard the little-remembered third try at perfecting the problematic ditty, wherein dance duo Hypnotone - later to assume production duties for some tracks on Screamadelica - sped it up into a brain-frazzling rave-friendly sonic assault with alarming blasts of sampling from the Pearl & Dean jingle? Not something you hear on 6Music's 'listener mixtape' shows too often.

My Bloody Valentine - Sugar

Hailing from the brief period between Isn't Anything and Loveless, and originally only released on an obscure Creation promo single, Sugar is perhaps the most appropriately-named number in the entire My Bloody Valentine back catalogue, with tooth-corrodingly trebly high frequencies that probably would have damaged old-skool tape decks, and the overall feeling of being caught in a sandstorm of Tate & Lyle. Staggeringly, it was apparently written and recorded in a day too. We can only assume Kevin was on a bit of a sugar rush himself at the time.

Saint Etienne - Fake 88

Originally intended as the closing track of Foxbase Alpha, this moody sound collage contrasts with the 'up with vintage and modern pop!' mindset of the rest of the album by nailing what was wrong with the period between the two, featuring Stephen Duffy listing some of the eighties cultural phenomena that Pete, Bob and Sarah were more than happy to see the back of, from Thatcher and Chernenko to Toto Coelo, Transformers, Phil Redmond, Bratpack Films and, erm, Stephen 'TinTin' Duffy. That it shares its name with a certain Alexander O'Neal hit is probably no coincidence when you consider the lyrics of People Get Real...

Flowered Up - Enough's Enough

One of the B-sides of the original pulled 12" of Weekender, and frustratingly never officially issued anywhere (in fact, if anyone's reading who's in a position to do something, Flowered Up are in dire need of the deluxe 2CD treatment), this jaunty pisstake about naughty bedroom antics is how Laid by James would have sounded if it had been written by anyone with anything resembling a sense of humour. It's probably supposed to represent what someone else was getting up to while Weekender was off his face and being chased by a giant record player or something. And it's probably safer not to ask.

Teenage Fanclub - Like A Virgin

From the little-heard mini-album recorded at the end of the Bandwagonesque sessions The King, where it came surrounded by terrifying outbursts of scuzzy guitar and wailing police sirens, this tongue-in-cheek chug through a song that Madonna and Stephen Bray probably didn't write with four feedback-crazed Big Star devotees in mind is actually surprisingly effective. Though it's no Slow And Fast (The Ballad Of Bow Evil).

Ride - Everybody Knows

Ride's masterwork Going Blank Again was originally presented to Creation as a double-album, but was cut down to a single disc when their cost-conscious American record company started hyperventilating on the freeway or something. Which probably made for a stronger album if we're being honest about it. Some of the excised tracks ended up as fondly-remembered B-sides; others, including this nattily subdued number featuring a rare lead vocal from drummer Loz Colbert, ended up sitting inexplicably on the shelf for years.

Super Furry Animals - nO.K.

The B-side of The International Language Of Screaming, and something that might sound on first listen like a cheap and lazy attempt at filling space on a single by getting someone to recite the alphabet over the A-side's backing track. But have a closer listen. Notice any letters missing? And can you think of any bands from around that time that might have made prominent use of said letter, and indeed that Super Furry Animals might well have felt inclined to take a subtle swipe at?

Sugar - If I Can't Change Your Mind (Evening Session Version)

Given how effectively they were wiped off the musical map by the rise of Oasis (and, admittedly, by their own miserable third album), it's easy to forget just what a short but intense media sensation Bob Mould's tuneful noisecore trio caused in the early nineties. If you want evidence of this, look no futher than the blistering tracks recorded for Mark Goodier's Radio 1 show that appeared spread across various singles (and now on the deluxe edition of Copper Blue), especially this exhiliarating rattle through their biggest hit single.

The Creation & Ride - How Does It Feel To Feel?

Sorry, this isn't on YouTube, so here's the official video instead...

It has to be said that most of Alan McGee's post-Oasis 'great ideas' in the latter years of Creation are not worth even remembering in the first place, let alone dwelling on. One of his more inspired thoughts, however, was persuading the sixties mod-psych band that gave the label its name to reform for Creation's tenth anniversary concert (and later to record a brand new album), for which they teamed up with Ride for a barnstorming rendition of one of their more unhinged erstwhile hits. Put a sock in it, Noel.

The Boo Radleys - Zoom

Fat Larry's Band's squiggly synth-festooned bit of eighties sickliness falls into the hands of Mop-Haired Martin's Band, who transform it into something resembling Gabriel The Toad trying to bag a Peel Session some time circa August 1991. If you're going to do cover versions, do them as bafflingly unrecognisably as this.

Higher Than The Sun - the story of Screamadelica, Foxbase Alpha, Bandwagonesque, Loveless and Creation Records' first attempt at taking on the world - is available in paperback here or from the Kindle Store here.