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Monday 15 March 2010

Ladies 1: Ellen Foley

In Brick Lane the other day I managed to pick up for the princely sum of £2 a near mint vinyl copy of "Spirit Of St. Louis", the 1981 album by Ellen Foley.

Ellen Foley is probably still best known as Meat Loaf's sparring partner on "Paradise By The Dashboard Light". After that she got her debut album produced by Ian Hunter and Mick Ronson. By 1981 she had got hip to the modern scene and was canoodling with Mick Jones of The Clash. On this album he roped in the gang to help her out - and therein lies the main interest in the album, at least for me.

The Clash and their mates were very heavily involved. The album was produced by Jones (or "My Boyfriend" as he is referred to on the sleeve notes - yuck), and six of the twelve tracks are credited to Strummer/ Jones. Three of the others were written by Tymon Dogg - a mate of Joe Strummer's who later joined him in The Mescaleros - including "Beautiful Waste Of Time", by some distance the pick of the non Strummer/Jones numbers.

The musicians are only identified by their first names on the sleeve notes but I think we can work out who Joe, Mick, Paul and Topper are. And Tymon on violin. Mickey on keyboards, Norman on bass and Davey on sax must be Mickey Gallagher, Norman Watt-Roy and Davey Payne from The Blockheads (Gallagher knowing The Clash well havng played on "London Calling" and "Sandanista"). The only one I can't work out is "J.G.T on guitar" but, given the involvement of other Blockheads, it could conceivably be John Turnbull.

"Spirit of St. Louis" is by no means a lost classic but it is well worth a listen, especially if you are a Clash fan. Or, on these two Strummer/ Jones compositions, a T. Rex or Roy Orbison fan.

"M.P.H." - Ellen Foley

"In The Killing Hour" - Ellen Foley

Here is a clip of Ellen still at it in 2008 and claiming that "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" was written about her. Who knows, it may even be true.

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