Category Archives: TFI 90s

The 90s Vault – Mule Variations

Regular listeners of mine will probably know who my favourite musician is, though my opportunities to play him on TFI90s are rare. But there is one album of his that is from the best decade known to man, and it just so happens to be one of his best. In this installment of ‘From The 90s Vault’, we look at Tom Waits’ 1999 masterpiece; ‘Mule Variations.’

You may well have never heard of Tom Waits. He is rarely if ever in the contemporary charts. He very rarely tours, and even rarer that he would play live in the UK. Appearances and interviews are strictly kept to album releases, which in themselves can have many years between them – especially in these later years. He has also released few music videos. But Tom Waits remains one of the most original, creative and eccentric genius’ in the world of music today.

Mule Variations marks a change in sound for Waits. He has moved away from his more traditional Jazz and Beatnik sounds, to something much more experimental. It’s a sound that was developed through Bone Machine and The Black Rider and perfected here. A sound that is difficult to categorise, save perhaps for ‘experimental folk rock industrial jazz ballads!’

Every track on this album is astonishing. Opening with the bizarre Big in Japan, a track sung into a police horn, with a version of Waits’ voice that sounds like it has been soaked in whisky for a month – Waits preaches to us that “He’s got the rooster, got the crow, got the ebb, got the flow…” and sets the precedent for the rest of the album, that is constantly smashing expectations.

Mule Variations then takes us through 14 tracks, each moving to a different realm of Waits’ musicality to the last, before ending on track 16’s ‘Come On Up To The House.’ A rousing and raucous Waits, booms to us to ‘to come on up to the house’ and we feel like, that at the end of the twisting and exciting, sometimes heart breaking journey that is Mule Variations, Waits has become our friend beyond tour guide through the dark and the strange of his landscape, and he now beckons us to his home to relax and feel safe in its warm glow.

The 14 songs between beginning and end, are all fantastic in their own way and it’s difficult to pick highlights. My highlights will not be yours, but for what it’s worth I point you to these; ‘Eye Ball Kid’ is a strange circus tale of a boy who is nothing more than a single eye ball looking for stardom. ‘Chocolate Jesus’ preaches to us that salvation can come in the form of an immaculate confection and sounds as though it was recorded in Waits’ own bathroom. ‘The House Where Nobody Lives’ is a stripped-back minor blues, where Waits cackles, almost slurring his words about the importance of a loving home. ‘Take It With Me’ is a beautiful piano ballad, where waits dedicates with a delicate and strangely vulnerable voice, to or perhaps for, his beloved.

The one track however, that I think is something extra special is ‘Whats He Building?’ I first heard this track in my dads car when I was around 17 years old. It was the first Waits track I had ever heard and I was completely mesmerised. I had never heard anything like it before. His voice alone captivated me, in this creepy spoken word study of suburban paranoia. Ladened with sound effect, strange instruments and television static, Waits obsesses over the activities of his suspicious neighbour. Waits questions just how much do we know about our neighbours, with suggestions ever more wild as he continually asks himself ‘Whats He Building In There!?’ We are left feeling at the end of this haunting piece, that perhaps it’s Waits who is the oddity after all.

Much like the musician himself, ‘Mule Variations’ is a work of genius that must be experienced. I have no negative comments about this album at all and quite simply it’s one of the greatest ever made. Go and find it and have your understanding of music turned upside down and taken to new exciting levels.

10/10 stars



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TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 22.02.18


East 17 – House Of Love

Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy

Apache Indian – Boom Shack-A-Lak

Kingmaker – Ten Years Asleep

REM – Shiny Happy people

Cast – Walkaway

Seal – Crazy

The Charlatans – Then

The Stone Roses – I Wanna be Adored

Snap! – Rhythm Is A Dancer

Nirvana – Smells like teen Spirit

Ocean Colour Scene – 100 Mile High City

Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity

Skunk Anansie – Charlie Big Potato

Pulp Mis-Shapes

Mcalmont And Butler – Yes

Prince – Cream

Red Hot Chili peppers – Give It Away

The Verve – the Drugs Don’t Work

Big Mountain – Baby, I Love Your Way

Suede – The Beutiful Ones

Shakespear’s Sister – Stay

Tori Amos – Professional Widow

Everything but the Girl – Missing

Babylon Zoo – Spaceman

The Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode

The Prodigy – No Good (Start the Dance)

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TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 15.02.18


David Bowie – The Hearts Filthy Lesson

Primal Scream – Loaded

Beautiful South – Perfect 10

Simply Red – Fairground

Texas – Black Eyed Boy

Beck – The New Pollution

Aerosmith – Pink

Massive Attack – Teardrop

The Prodigy – Firestarter

Eels – Susan’s House

Tom Jones & The Cardigans – Burning Down The House

Embrace -Come Back To What You Know

Garbage – Stupid Girl

Stereophonics – A Thousand trees

Pulp – Common people

Portishead – Glory Box

Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus

INXS – Suicide Blonde

Travis – Writing To Reach You

Semisonic – Secret Smile

George Michael – Freedom

Terrorvision – Tequila

Blink 182 – All The Small Things

Smashmouth – All Star

Alanis Morissette – Thank U

ATB – 9pm 9Till I Come)

Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Theme from Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Mike Flowers Pops – Wonderwall

Jamiroquai – Deeper underground

TFI90s 080218

TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 08.02.18


Everything But The Girl – Missing

Haddaway – What Is Love?

Britney Spears – Baby One More Time

Wonder Stuff – Welcome To the Cheap Seats

Sheryl Crow – Sweet Child O’Mine

Placebo – Pure Morning

Depth Charge – Shaolin Buddha Finger

Run Dmc vs Jason Nevins – It’s Like That

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

Michael Jackson – Remember The Time

Depeche Mode – personal Jesus

Len Steal My Sunshine

INXS – Suicide Blonde

Prince – Get Off

Blue – Beetlebum

White Town – Your Woman

Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun

MN8 – I’ve Got A Little Something For Ya

Tom Jones – Sex Bomb

East 17 – Someone To Love

Reef – Place Your Hands

Kriss Kross – Jump

Air – Sexy Boy

Olive – You’re Not Alone

Tori Amos – Professional Widow

Peter Andre – Mysterious Girl

Green Jelly – Three Little Pigs

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TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 01.02.18


Republica – Rush Hour With Love

East 17 – House Of Love

Faith No More – Epic

Pulp – Mis-Shapes

No Doubt – Don’t Speak

Will Smith – Miami

Radiohead – Karma Police

Chemical Brothers – Let Forever Be

Jamiroquai – Canned heat

Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity

Jamiroquai – Space Cowby

Ugly Kid Joe – Everything About You

Embrace – All You Good Good People

Suede – Animal Nitrate

Crowded House – It’s Only Natural

Extreme – More Than Words

Everything But The Girl – Missing

The Verve – Sonnet

The Cure – Friday I’m In Love

EMF – Unbelievable

Skunk Anansie – Hedonism (Just Because You Feel Good)

Bryan Adams & Mel C – When You’re Gone

Take That feat Lulu – Relight My Fire

Manic Street Preachers – You Stole The Sun From My heart

Bon Jovi – keep The Faith

Space – Avenging Angels

Cranberries – Zombie

Divinyls – I Touch Myself

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TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 25.01.18


Charles & Eddie – Would I lie To You?

Manic Street Preachers – You Stole The Sun From MY Heart

The Beloved – Sweet Harmony

White Town – Your Woman

Madonna – Justify My Love

Prince – Cream

Bryan Adams & Mel C – When Your Gone

Aerosmith – Pink

Guns ‘N’ Roses – Live And Let Die

Travis – Why Does It Always Rain On Me

Stone Roses – I Am The Resurrection

Stone Roses – Fool’s Gold

Stone Roses – I Wanna be Adored

Space feat Cerys Matthews – Ballad Of Tom Jones

Inspiral Carpets – Dragging Me Down

Alanis Morissette – Ironic

Echobelly – King Of The Kerb

Jamiroquai – King For A Day

Republica – Drop Dead Gorgeous

Blur – On Your Own

Blur – Coffee & TV

Blur – Song 2

Natalie Imbruglia – Torn

INXS – Suicide Blonde

Tasmin Archer – Sleeping Satellite

De La Soul – Me Myself & I

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Higher Ground

TFI90s 180118

TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 18.01.18


Right Said Fred – I’m Too Sexy

Annie Lennox – Walking on Broken Glass

Run DMC vs Jason Nevins – It’s Like That

The Prodigy – Breathe

Charlies & Eddie – Would I Lie To You

The Stone Roses – Fools Gold

Cranberries – Zombie

Madonna – Beautiful Stranger

Depth Charge – Shaolin Buddha Finger

Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit

Space – The Female Of The Species

Space – We Gotta Get Out Of This Place

Space – Avenging Angels

Metallica – Nothing Else Matters

Michael Jackson – Black Or White

U2 – Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me

Embrace – Come Back To What You Know

Bjork – Big Time Sensuality

INXS – Suicide Blonde

Ash – Girl From Mars

Portishead – Glory Box

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh prince – Summertime

Snap! – The Power

Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart

Terrorvision – Tequila

Mansun – Stripper Vicar

TFI90s 04.01.18

TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 04.01.18


Skunk Anansie – Charlie Big Potato

Massive Attack – Unfinished Sympathy

The Shamen – Ebeneezer Goode

The Prodigy – Out Of Space

Jamiroquai – Deeper Underground

R.E.M – Nightswimming

DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – Summertime

Babylon Zoo – Spaceman

Ocean Colour Scene – The Riverboat Song

Faith No More – Epic

Mansun – Wide Open Space

The Verve – The Drugs Don’t Work

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Give It Away

Suede – The Beautiful Ones

Soundgarden – Black hole Sun

Seal – Kiss From A Rose

Pulp – Mis-Shapes

Big Mountain – Baby, I Love Your Way

Happy Mondays – Step On

Pearl Jam – Black

Republica – Drop Dead Gorgeous

East 17 – House Of love

The Stone Roses – I Wanna be Adored

David Bowie – The Hearts Filthy Lesson

Space – Avenging Angels

TFI90s Christmas Special 211217

TFI 90s Radio show Christmas Special with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 21.12.17


Cliff Richard – Savour’s Day

Fourplay – It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

Tracy Chapman – O Holy Night

The Irish Rovers – Good King Wenceslas

Boyz II Men – Silent Night

Jonny Lang – Santa Clause Is Back In Town

Patti Smith – We Three Kings

Steve Winwood – Christmas Is Now Drawing Near At Hand

Elastica – All For Gloria

Diana Krall – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Sinead O’Connor – Silent Night

Dave Koz – Winter Wonderland

Jon Bon Jovi – Please Come Home For Christmas

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds – Christmas Song

Hootie And The Blowfish – The Christmas Song

Mary J Blige – Christmas In The City

Sheryl Crow – Blue Christmas

The Becker Brothers with Steve Khan – the Christmas Waltz

The Smashing Pumpkins – Christmastime

Natalie Merchant – Children Go Where I Send Thee

Eleven & Chris Cornell – Ave Maria

Cassandra Wilson – The Little Drummer Boy

Joseph Simmons and The Christmas All Stars – Santa Baby

Sting – I Saw Three Ships

John McLaughlin – O Come O Come Emmanuel

No Doubt – Oi To The World

East 17 – Stay Another Day

Herbie Hancock & Eliane Elias – I’ll Be Home For Christmas

Blues Traveler – Christmas

TFI90s 14.12.17

TFI 90s Radio show with @CW_Stagg on Phoenix FM from 14.12.17


East 17 – House of Love

Alanis Morissette – Thank U

Depeche Mode – Enjoy The Silence

Black Grape – In The Name Of The Father

Embrace – Come Back To What You Know

The Stone Roses – I Wanna be Adored

Cast – Sandstorm

Blue – Stereotypes

Blur – Girls & Boys

Blur – There’s No Other Way

Faithless – Insomnia

Bran Van 3000 – Drinking In LA

Metallica – Enter Sandman

Deacon Blue – Queen Of The New Year

Happy Mondays – Step On

Wonder Stuff – The Size Of A Cow

Aswad – Shine

EMF – Unbelievable

R.E.M – Nighswimming

Ugly Kid Joe – Everything About You

Babylon Zoo – Spaceman

Air – Kelly Watch The Stars

The Beloved – Sweet Harmony

Primal Scream – Loaded

The Prodigy – No Good (Start The Dance)

Sneaker Pimps – Spin Spin Sugar

Big Mountain – Baby I Love Your Way

EEls – Novocaine For the Soul