Saturday, October 4, 2014

Coiled Skein

Though in and out of vogue with threads woven into the very fabric of existence, bicycles and cycling culture pervade the 150 years since the popular inception of this mobile contraption. To the 1,000 songs from B&C’s appendix so far have added at least as many more to Companion Reader derived from this blog. Hope to one day consolidate list in a 3rd edition.

Asylum Street Spankers, Training Wheel Rag, Mommy says No!, Yellow Dog, 2007 - Rather prolific, retro acoustic band sings of childhood longings, “My bike's kinda slow... I always come in last... When I kick those training wheels, I’m going to fly.”

Awake, Bike Song [punk], Breaking Away EP, Saladdays Rec., 2014 - Angry anthem, anti-car, pro-bike, "Oil industry has killed millions worldwide. Think twice before you choose your ride. Ride bikes. Smash cars."

Boston based blog appreciates a soundtrack to their self propelled accidents, whence, Bones and Xavier Wulf’s single below. Too bad they overlooked John Linnell’s popular “South Carolina”, which is actually about a bike crash unlike those they list, mostly organized noise without lyrical references to bicycles.

Bones & Xavier Wulf, IGotABMXBikeButImNotVeryGood [hip hop], single, [self], 2013 - You said it.

City Lab, online blog of The Atlantic, reports that South Korea's Nubija Bike-share System has its own theme song, Most Wonderful Bike Capital Changwon City. Hardly any riders in video wear helmets. Appears they also have an excellent system of off-road accommodations where riders feel safe.

Gluefactory, Bike to the Pike, Yes Sir: Shark Island Records Sampler, Long Beach Rec., 2014 (originally from 2005) - “I pedaled so far away... the tokens ride but they don’t go nowhere.”

Half Man Half Biscuit, See That My Bike’s Kept Clean [Brit rock], Voyage to the Bottom of the Road, 1999 - Frantic mtb video with big air and bigger crashes that disturb sensitive desert environment slapped together with a dated redo of an old Bob Dylan folk song. Consider also their Lock up Your Mountain Bikes, which never otherwise mentions bicycles, based on jejune tune "If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands".

Helvetia, Old New Bicycle, The Acrobats - Low-fi train wreck by Nirvana wannabe Seattle band.

John Cale, Bicycle - Though an instrumental already indexed, here’s a link to an actual recording.

Junior Reid, Poor Man Transportation [reggae], Lost Vinyl Classics, JR Rec., 1986 - Predates Beenie Man’s "Bicycle Man" by 13 years, probably influenced lyrics.

Kimya Dawson, I Like My Bike, Thunder Thighs, Great Crap Factory, 2011 - Brief ditty on 7th solo album of relentless indie whose main merit is her 2-wheeled enthusiasm.

Mikill Pane, Dirty Rider [Brit hip hop], Dirty Rider EP, 2012 - London’s BMX “nasty rider” wants to ride with you provided you act safely and keep up.

Mungo’s Hi Fi featuring Pupajim , Bike Rider [reggae], Serious Time, Scotch Bonnet, 2014 - “I don’t need no petrol; everything is under control.”

Piebald, Fear and Loathing on Cape Cod, Nobody’s Robots, Sidehatch, 2010

Piebald, Roll On, Accidental Gentleman, One Side Dummy, 2007

Propagandhi, Hadron Collision [punk], Failed States, 2012 - Blurted lyrics might be about bikes or quantum physics.

Rune Meyer, Bicycle Ridin [c&w], Me, [self] 2006 - Misspelled cover of Swedish crooner Anders Wyller’s song from 2003, not the least bit just "me".

St. Vincent, Bicycle, Actor [bonus track], 2009 - Only reference are the introductory lyrics, “You stole my bicycle, so I had to walk 12 blocks.”

Slater featuring Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator [hip hop], Wolf, 2013 - Misogynist lyrics from a self confessed loser berates girlfriend sitting on his handlebars.

Vivian Stanshall, Terry Keeps His Clips On, Teddy Boys Don’t Knit, Charisma, 1981 - Bit of humor from absurdist raconteur, avid cyclist, Bonzo Dog Band frontman, deceased eccentric, and national treasure Stanshall. Nice clip of Viv actually riding a bike in London traffic in a BBC documentary. Odd how the Brits value vintage whimsy.


Also from the mere 5 dozen touted as a List of Songs About Bicycles at Wikipedia, repeated a few old time favorites below in chronological order that were relegated to “never recorded” and “scholarly detective work” in B&C. Wish there was someone at Wikipedia to contact, educate, and set straight, but that’s apparently a common complaint. All author had to do is Google the Wheelmen’s List of Bicycling Songs Before 1920 to find hundreds of vintage titles.

E. H. Sherwood, The New Velocipede - Galop, 1869 [A decade before safety bicycle was introduced.]
Frank Wilder, British Christy Minstrels with F. Collins, The Great Velocipede, 1869
Henry Atkins, O. H. Harpel, Velocipede Jimmy, 1869
Harry Dacre, Daisy Bell, 1892 [Famous “bicycle built for two” song emerges.]
David Braham, Edward Harrigan, The Girl That’s Up to Date, 1894
A. A. Condon, The Latest Fad, 1895
Avery Oddfellow, F. W. Meacham, The Bicycle Girl, 1895
O. A. Hoffmann, Have You a Wheel, 1895
Theodore E. Brun, Cyclopedia March, 1896 [A busy year for bicycle songsmiths with 4 per month.]
Dora Brown, Nelly Burt, 1897
J. M. Richards, Bicycle Episode, 1897
George Lowell Tracy, J. C. Dunn, The New Columbia Wheel, 1898
Philip Wales, My ‘Cycle Gal, 1899

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