Kung Fu (live at the Wireless 2008) – Ash (2008, Echo Records, Taken from ‘1977 Collectors Edition’)
Kung Fu (Album Version) – Ash (1996, Infectious Records, Taken from ‘1977’)
The ‘Live at the Wireless’ album by Ash is rather marvellous. It was originally released in 1997 about a year or so after ‘1977’ came out and is a live gig that the band did in Australia that was broadcast live on air. I remember buying a copy on vinyl from a record shop just off the Charing Cross Road. It has one of the best starts of any album ever. A mike crackles and suddenly an Irish voice blurts out “Hey, We’re fucking Ash”
and just before the guitars kick in, another voice (the radio show host) can be (just about) heard to say
“Oh, Dear god, no”.
Then you get some heavy breathing and then ‘Kung Fu’ just explodes into life. It is incredible and considering it’s a live album, full of raw vocals, and at times tinny and badly recorded, that is a very rare thing.
I love ‘Kung Fu’ I think its probably my favourite song by Ash. I love the fact that they used the picture of Eric Cantona kicking that football thug on the cover of the single, I love the sampled thwacking noises at the start of it, I love the way the chorus sticks in your mind long after it has finished, all of it is brilliant.
But there is just something about the wireless live version that I adore more than all that. Maybe it’s the fact that its played at breakneck speed, maybe it’s the sheer raw energy that revolves around it. So, with two days to go, the gap closes back to just one point – Alternatives 8 – Originals 9
Ash were tremendous live when they were touring ‘1977’ I saw them at the Town and Country Club in London and came away clutching the head of a cardboard Darth Vader, like it was my most prized possession, which, considering it had been launched into the crowd about ten minutes earlier and then ripped to pieces like it was a piece of meat thrown to some hungry dogs, it clearly wasn’t – yet I took a boot to the back of leg to get that Darth Vader head. 24 hours later I’d left it on Chris’ sofa, never to be seen again.
There are a bunch of other great versions of Ash songs on the ‘Wireless’ album, including these two blasts of brilliance : –
Oh Yeah (Live at the Wireless) – Ash (2008, Echo Records, Taken from ‘1977 Collectors Edition’)
Goldfinger (Live at the Wireless) – Ash (2008, Echo Records, Taken from ‘1977 Collectors Edition’)
The ‘1977 Collectors Edition’ is as it happens a thing of beauty as well. It gives you 65 Ash songs spread out over nearly four hours, as well as the Live at the Wireless album you get a bunch of tracks recorded at the Reading Festival in 1996, a load of old B Sides, cover versions and early demos and stuff.
Stuff like this
Girl from Mars (4 Track – Demo) – Ash
Jack Names the Planets (La La Land 7” Version) – Ash
(Both taken from the 2008 ‘1977 Collectors Edition’)
Tomorrow – Death in Vegas