Jon Langford: 50 Songs I Love

The much-loved member of The Mekons and Three Johns declares his love for U-Roy, Bowie, Merle Haggard, Pere Ubu and The Kinks. Eclectic? yes.
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The much-loved member of The Mekons and Three Johns declares his love for U-Roy, Bowie, Merle Haggard, Pere Ubu and The Kinks. Eclectic? yes.

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The sexiest man ever to have lived in Leeds, Newport AND Chicago, Langford has been a mainstay of The Mekons on their journey from David Bowie's fave punk group in the late 70s through to left-field country and western today. During the 1980s he could frequently be be found running around on stage, recording a John Peel Session or on the front of the NME with The Three Johns. Now living in Chicago he earns a living painting small rectangles of wood but still steps out with the MEKONS, WACO BROTHERS and PINE VALLEY COSMONAUTS. His new album HERE BE MONSTERS will be available on Indegoot Records of New York City in March

1.Cathedrals -Handsome Family

Could have easily done a list of my 50 favourite Handsome Family songs.

2.Baron Saturday – Pretty Things

Dick Taylor former Stone and forever Mekon on lead vocals.

3.Guillotine (It Goes Yah) –Death Grips

Gotta love ‘em for blowing off the corporate-cluster-palooza in Chicago last summer.

4.Street Waves – Pere Ubu

Most of the surviving members of Pere Ubu have a really cool band called Home & Garden in Cleveland.

5.I Can See Clearly Now – Johnny Nash

Sung seventeen times at my fiftieth birthday party.

6. Where Are We Now? – David Bowie

The most pleasant surprise of 2013.

7. Birthday – White Mystery

Boogie on down in your birthday suit suggest Chicago brother and sister duo with unfeasibly huge and matching curly red hair.

8.War Pigs – Black Sabbath

My thoughts precisely.

9. Streets of Tamworth – Roger Knox

The last of the great Australian Aboriginal Country and Western Singers.

10.  I Am a Cinematographer – Bonnie Prince Billy

The right man to drive you round Louisville Kentucky.

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11. Filth –UnGnomes

2013 Chicago High School Punk Rock explosion part one.

12. Autumn Almanac – The Kinks

Only the Kinks make England sound this romantic.

13. I Fall to Pieces – Patsy Cline

Number one on my jukebox if I ever get a jukebox.

14. More than My Old Guitar –Merle Haggard

He’s 76 years old and no one’s gonna tell him what he can or can’t smoke.

15. Pig Valentine – 60 Foot Dolls

90s Power trio from Newport Gwent – too brief too brief.

16.Afreecan – Dennis Bovell & I-Roy

UK Dubmaster and bass God mekin’ it run!

17. C’Mon – Man

the 18 minute version with the Welsh male voice choir gets me everytime.

18. Nice Up Dance – Natural Beauty

Soundtrack to many nights on Coldharbour Lane.

19. If There is Something – Roxy Music

Glamart market gardening from their first and best album.

20. Ruby Tuesday – Dick Gaughan

Rolling Stones spun out and mangled through Google-Glaswegian translator.

21.  Unafraid –Jon Dee Graham

Texan bear-of-a-man writes stirring anthem of personal/political defiance and liberation.

22.  War is Over – Prince Farai

I’m sorry for you if ya love Waaaah!

23.  Homburg – Procol Harum

Much better and far less lucrative than Whiter Shade of Pale.

24.  I’m Poor – Loose Dudes

Sadly defunct Chicago art punk primitives discuss their finances.

25. National Shite Day –Half Man Half Biscuit

Every bloody day in Harehills Avenue.

26. Tiger Tiger – Sadies

Tall, talented and from Toronto they know more Mekons songs than the Mekons.

27.The Many Disguises of God –Robbie Fulks

Huge brain and fast flashing fingers finally nails it in 2013.

28. Hurts So Good – Susan Cagogan

Crazy sex pains abound!

29.Debris – The Faces

Ronnie Lane’s bittersweet song about his Dad.

30. I Can Take You to Heaven Tonight –Otis Clay

Chicago soul legend last seen backstage at Robert Plant’s show in Grant Park deep in conversation with the Golden God.

31. Tom Drunk –U-Roy

Nicked this out of the press cupboard at Virgin in 1979.

32.Alone & Forsaken –Hank Williams

More memories of Coldharbour Lane…

33. Halloween All Year –The Orwells

2013 Chicago High School Punk Rock explosion part two.

34.  Jailbait –Andre Williams

Andre is still out on the road delivering this cautionary tale to dirty old men everywhere.

35.Uptown Top Ranking –Althea & Donna

Makes me think about John Peel.

36.Plumb –Horse’s Ha!

Jim Zinc from Chorley Wood and Janet Freakwater from Louisville do uncomfortable stadium folk.

37. Doubter out of Jesus –Chuck Prophet

I thought he was saying “You can make a dollar out of Jesus” but he’s not…

38.Saturday Gigs –Mott The Hoople

We were the dudes and the dudes were we.

39. Needle Of Death –Bert Jansch

Recorded by Bill Leader the British Alan Lomax.

40.Boomers - Twin Peaks

2013 Chicago High School Punk Rock explosion part three.

41.Ghost Town – The Specials

They played in Potternewton Park in Chapeltown, Leeds when this perfect song was number one.

42. Einstein Song –Kevin Coyne

A song about having sons that sends shivers through me everytime (from Kevin’s highly productive later years in Germany). I really miss him

43.Slip Sliding Away – Paul Simon

American easy listening existentialism at its maudlin best.

44.Tonight I Think I’m Gonna Go Downtown -Jimmie Dale Gilmore

My love would never see/That this world's just not real to me.

45.Urban Guerilla – Hawkwind

There was something a bit scary and thrilling about Hawkwind back in the miserable mid 70s.

46.Last Kind Word Blues –Geeshie Wiley

This extraordinary song fell through a hole in the sky sometime in the 1930s, don’t try to play along, you’ll just look stupid.

47.Rob a Bank – Kill Pretty

Moet has been mistaken for a me a few times and I forgive him.

48. Promised Land –Johnny Allen

Accordions on speed (in a swamp)

49.Coffin For Head of State –Fela Kuti –

Waka waka waka! You hear this in taxis in Chicago.

50. Geneva –Two Marks and a Frank

Bastard sons of Tom Jones coming to a valley near you this Saturday night.