Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Mud - Tiger Feet (1974/ No. 1/ 11 weeks/ RAK)

"All night long you've been -
Lookin' at me!
Well you know you're the -
Dance hall cutie that you love to be!
Oh well now -
You've been layin' it down!
You got your
Hips swingin' out of bounds!
And I like the way you do what you're doin' to me!- ! - ! - !

True stories behind the hits: Nicky Chinn is wallpapering his home. As he attempts the tricky maneuvering of some pasted paper he says to himself “That’s right. That’s right.” Admiring his handiwork, he reflects “That’s neat!”. Then the good mood is spoiled by his looking down at his shoes and observing that stands of fallen paste have formed stripes. “Oh, I’ve got tiger feet.” he observes ruefully…

Then a great big lyric writer’s light bulb is illuminated above his head.

There can be few better apprenticeships for becoming a great pop group than being the house band on 'The Basil Brush Show'. The next few paragraphs aren't by me (http://freakytrigger.co.uk/ft/2007/10/mud-tiger-feet/ ), but rather brilliantly explain in musicological detail just why 'Tiger Feet' is so tremendous;

"“Tiger Feet” achieves the magic 10 status thanks to (a) the writers and performers remembering that pop is “you know, for kids”; (b) the inspired idea to nick the drum beat from “Ballroom Blitz” and double track it - thus that irresistible dance groove; and (c) the quintuple guitar attack.

Here’s the set-up. Back-centre is an octave leaping pig-nosed ‘bass’ (this could be a guitar actually, I think there’s a separate bass line in there somewhere, but no matter), ramping up the beat yet another notch. Right channel, the fuzzy main riff straight out of the Quo playbook. Left channel, a sparking second guitar, responsible for the off-beat accents. Then in the instrumental breaks after the chorus two more lead guitars in the centre of the mix, playing the solo in descending, parallel fourths - again probably a nod to the likes of Quo - and of course this was later a Thin Lizzy trademark. I don’t know if Rob Davis - our friend with the dress and the earrings and the future second pop career - is responsible for all these guitars. I fancy he might have been, since this arrangement is a feature of all three of the above-mentioned singles yet not of any other ChinniChap production of the time.

But each part sits beautifully in the mix and at no time does it feel like excess. There is plenty of space for Les Gray, thankfully reining in the Elvis Presleyisms for once, to coo his appreciation of the ‘dance hall cutie’ who’s given him a feeling in his knees(!) - the dumb lyrics a perfect match for the party vibe of the music.

My favourite bit is actually the fade, where you get two dueling vocal lines, one going ‘T-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-tiger Feet’ and the other ‘That’s right (x8), That’s neat (x4)’ and so on. The two parts meld to create nonsense sounds - simply adding to the general sense of delirium the record has been building up to."

God, I love this… It cheers me up and makes me laugh. I even always attempt to do a silly dance whenever I hear it.

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