TWELVE SINGLES

This isn’t an ICA as such, but it could quite easily pass for one, albeit a very lazy one.

The Monochrome Set, formed in 1978 in London, would go on to release twelve singles between 1979 and 1985, before their initial break-up. Almost all twelve of the singles are worthy of sitting in the collection of any fan of fiendishly catchy, clever and danceable indie-pop.

The one constant throughout this time was singer and main song-writer Bid, whose real-name is Ganesh Seshadri. The original line-up also include Lester Square (real name Thomas Hardy) on guitar, John D Haney on Drums and Charlie X on bass, albeit he was only part of the line-up for a short time, being replaced by the time they went into the studio by Jeremy Harrington. The first three singles came out in 1979 on Rough Trade:-

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – He’s Frank
mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Eine Symphonie des Grauens
mp3 : The Monochrome Set – The Monochrome Set

I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t huge on the band at this time, only very occasionally hearing one of their songs via the John Peel show and there was nobody at school championing their cause. If I had been aware of the quality of these singles, I’d have snapped them up at the time…..or at least I’d like to think I would have…..the 15/16 year old me might have thought them just a tad too quirky and maybe it was best that I didn’t discover them for a few more years, courtesy of these and later singles being aired at nights in the student union.

1980 saw the band switch to Dindisc, becoming the fourth act after Martha & The Muffins, Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark and The Revillos to record an album for a label that was an offshoot of Virgin Records. By this point, they were onto yet another bassist, Andy Warren who proved to be very durable. The debut album, Strange Boutique, received fairly mixed reviews with most journos uncomfortable at being unable to pin-down the band into a genre or come up with any suitable comparisons to any other group doing the rounds at that point in time. It is fair to say that the album wasn’t as immediate or accessible as the earlier singles, as evidenced by the fact that only one song was deemed worthy of an a-side, and even that was a different recording from what appeared on the album:-

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – The Strange Boutique

The album had been recorded with Bob Sargeant, one of the most prolific producers of the era, but he was ditched for the sophomore effort, Love Zombies, which was issued just eight months after the debut, meaning that the band had pulled off the impressive feat of two albums in a calendar year. The production duties were taken on by Alvin Clark, better known at the time as an engineer, but who was an attractive option as he could add keyboards to the band’s sound. Two 45s were lifted from the album:-

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – 405 Lines
mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Apocalypso

The band left Dindisc shortly afterwards and 1981 proved to be a very quiet time with just one single issued, on PRE Records which was a sub-label of Charisma Records between 1980 and 1982 that was used primarily to issue singles by new wave and reggae acts.

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Ten Don’ts for Honeymooners

1982 was the year that I finally discovered The Monochrome Set. By this point in time, JD Haney had taken his leave to be replaced on the drummer’s stool by Lexington Crane – and as a parting gift, the band decided to make an new instrumental track for use as a b-side which they lovingly called J.D.H.A.N.E.Y. They had also switched to another indie label – Cherry Red – for whom they would record what many feel was their finest ever album, Eligible Bachelors. It was a collection of tunes that harked back to the earliest singles, fitting in wonderfully with the increasingly off-kilter sounds of successful indie-pop in the era when the likes of Orange Juice finally made a breakthrough. Two tracks were issued by Cherry Red as 45s:-

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – The Mating Game
mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Jet Set Junta

To be accurate, the version of Jet Set Junta that was issued as a 45 was different from that made available on Eligible Bachelors. It was only released in 1983 to accompany Volume, Contrast, Brilliance…which was a Cherry Red compilation of radio sessions and hard-to-find B-sides from earlier singles dating back to the Rough Trade era. Jet Set Junta was from one of the radio sessions, recorded in December 1981 and which had marked Lexington Crane’s first formal involvement with the band.

You’ll have worked it out by now that this was a band that wasn’t the greatest at hanging on to members. Things had taken an took an alarming turn for the worse immediately after the release of Strange Boutique in that Lester Square, regarded by most fans as not just the perfect foil for Bid but the de facto depute leader of the band, decided to quit as did the new drummer, meaning that The Monochrome Set, just as it appeared they could reach into the mainstream, had been reduced to a duo of a frontman and bassist. I think it’s a fair assumption to feel that ‘musical differences’, however widely you would want that defined, was at the heart of matters.

Keyboardist Carrie Booth, drummer Nicholai Weslowski and percussionist Camilla Weslowska were soon brought on board and this five-piece recorded a single, released on Cherry Red, before the year was out:-

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Cast A Long Shadow

Things went quiet for a while, with just the aforementioned Cherry Red compilation to keep fans happy in 1983, an album on which six musicians were credited of whom four were no longer associated with the band.

There was no new material in 1984 but the band returned in 1985. They were back to being a four-piece with Carrie Booth and Camilla Weslowska having been jettisoned. Unbelievably, they were on yet another new label, their fourth in six years, having been enticed by their old mate Geoff Travis to sign for Blanco Y Negro, the label backed by Warner Brothers and which was already home to Everything But The Girl. This was, by far, their best chance to make it big.

There was one album and two singles, both of which sold enough to be acknowledged as reaching the Top 100, but nowhere close to the success hoped for by the label bosses:-

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Jacob’s Ladder (6 weeks in the Top 100, peaking at #81)
mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Wallflower (1 week in the Top 100, reaching #97)

Before the year was out, the band broke-up, reforming in 1990 as five-piece that included Bid, Lester Square and Andy Warren from the old days, releasing five new albums of material and touring extensively before again calling it a day in 2000…..except, they reformed yet again in 2010, with Bid, Square and Warren all involve yet again. Three more albums followed before Lester Square decided to take his leave at the end of 2014 (he had not long turned 60 years of age) although this time round the band kept going, and earlier this year they released Fabula Mendax, their fifteenth studio album.

JC

IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (33)

The debut single by Suede was released in May 1992. It has long been viewed as one of their very best but, contrary to popular belief, it was something of a flop in commercial terms, barely scraping into the Top 50.

There have been lots of things written about The Drowners, some of which make more sense than others. I’m surely not alone in wondering what the hell the NME was on about when, having listed the song at #104 in its ‘Greatest of All Time’, said. “Brett and co sashayed onto the scene with this swooner and soon turned indie an androgynous shade of jaundiced yellow”

Most of what has been written over the past 25 years has concentrated on the lyrics, with praise for Brett Anderson’s daring in penning a debut single that was charged with homoeroticism, with the protagonist singing of being kissed in rooms while popular tunes play in the background (maybe listening to a specially compiled mixtape?) while simultaneously enjoying having his spine caressed, manfully resisting, initially, to what is being asked for – ‘stop taking me over’ but by the end accepting the inevitable and enjoying it – ‘you’re taking me over’ which is repeated endlessly as the song fades out.

I’ve long been someone who places a high level of importance and/or significance of lyrics in terms of them being able to transform a good song into a great song, but back in 1994 I didn’t pay much attention to what Brett was singing. For me, it was all about the tune which sparked off all sorts of long-locked memories of growing up in the early-mid 70s listening to fast-paced and catchy glam-rock tunes dominate the singles charts. It took the best of the music from that era but sprinkled it with indie-knowing that harked back to the mid-80s and added a little bit of special flavouring with a nod to the slightly heavier sound of such as The Pixies.

Suede turned out to be one of the bands lassoed into the Britpop genre. Britpop itself is largely defined by the anthemic nature of the songs from the era. And while there can be no denying that The Drowners is an incredibly anthemic number, anyone suggesting it is classic Britpop ought to be taken outside, stripped naked, tarred and feathered and tied to a chair while forcefully made to listen to Cast. They will soon realise there’s a big difference.

mp3 : Suede – The Drowners

The thing is, this debut single came with two remarkable b-sides, containing songs that almost none of the other newly emerging band of the era would ever be capable of writing and recording.

mp3 : Suede – To The Birds
mp3 : Suede – My Insatiable One

I made reference in a previous posting, in March 2016, to the quality of the first five Suede singles at which my dear friend Jacques left behind a comment that I can only echo, richly:-

“As a whole, The Drowners is one of my favourite singles ever.”

Anyone care to interpret the NME and its reference to it turning indie an androgynous shade of jaundiced yellow?

JC

A FOOTNOTE IN SCOTTISH MUSICAL HISTORY

As part of the on-line build-up to last Simply Thrilled night, members of the Facebook group were asked to reminisce on the first Scottish act they had seen live. There’s a fair range of ages among the group and the replies were fascinating, not least that provided by Basil Pieroni, the guitarist with Butcher Boy who said:-

I don’t remember them but I must have been the Cuban Heels supporting the Stranglers at the Apollo in 1978. The reason for this occurred to me was that, walking home from town yesterday, we passed the Academy. The marquee said The Cuban Heels and that rang a bell. A quick google later and we paid in. They were playing in the bar not the main theatre….

The years have been fairly kind to them. The bass player in particular looked magnificent – full quiff, skinny, dressed in black, great face. The music was of its time – kind of proto Simple Minds (according to wiki one of them was in Johnny & The Self Abusers with Jim Kerr). Anyway, was a good diversion.

I know I must have seen them at the Apollo, because I remember queuing, the doors opening and everyone starting to run up the stairs as soon as your ticket was checked. I said to my pal – why are we running? – and he said – I don’t know.

I laughed out loud as I’d forgotten that running up the stairs and into the stalls was part of the ritual in going to the Apollo. Forget the fact that you had a specified seat on your ticket as these tended to be completely ignored by those attending the gig and by the notorious bouncers, especially at the post-punk/new wave gigs where it was just mayhem from the word go,

Basil was right in that John Milarky, the singer with Johnny & The Self Abusers, would quickly team up with Paul Armour (bass), Davie Duncan (guitar) and Laurie Cuff (guitar) who had already formed a trio called The Cuban Heels and, through a friendship with an Edinburgh entrepreneur who wanted to set up a record label, they recorded and released, on Housewives’ Choice, this before 1978 was out:-

mp3 : The Cuban Heels – Downtown

Yup, it’s a cover of the song made famous by Petula Clark. And it proved to the only 45 the label would issue!

The b-side was a Laurie Cuff number:-

mp3 : The Cuban Heels – Do The Smok Walk

I do remember The Cuban Heels getting a fair bit of local media coverage back in the day and I have memories also of them getting at a couple of sessions for the John Peel show on Radio 1. It therefore seems strange that it took two years to release a follow-up single:-

mp3 : The Cuban Heels – Walk On Water

The single was the first to be issued by a new local label, Cuba Libre, which had been set up by Ali Mackenzie (ex The Subs) and who also began drumming for The Cuban Heels. Paul Armour had also left and had been replaced on bass by Nick Clark (I’m wondering he’s the same bloke who so impressed Basil a while back).

I think it’s fair to say that this new 45 was heavily influenced by Talking Heads, albeit the pace was just a bit more frantic and less posing was involved.

Some A&R folk were liking what they were hearing and next thing was that Cuba Libre did a deal with Virgin Records for joint releases on the next material by the band, which turned out to be two singles and an album in 1981 in which production duties were shared by John Leckie and Steve Hillage. The band must have toured in support of these releases, including Glasgow gigs, and while it is possible that I would have been present at one or more of such events, like Basil, I don’t remember them.

It’s interesting that, after all these years, the band has come back together again and playing gigs in the Glasgow area but it is hard to see what sort of audience they will be attracting beyond the die-hard fans who will now be approaching pensionable age.

JC

THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF LUKE HAINES (6)

A GUEST POSTING by CHAVAL

When you miss out on a major prize, the correct way to behave is the magnanimous nod at the victors, a half-raised glass to toast their success and a cultivated air of being above such trifling matters.

Luke Haines didn’t opt for that route. Shortly after learning that New Wave had failed to win the 1993 Mercury Music Prize by one vote, Haines could be found at the table of winners Suede.

“What I mean to say is ‘Well done’,” he recalled in his peerless memoir Bad Vibes, “What I actually say is ‘Give me my fucking money now’. With menace.” Suede are tolerant of such behaviour but ugly scenes ensue. Haines isn’t proud. “I have achieved optimum inebriation and am acting like a peasant.”

The Mercury Prize debacle put a line under the baroque, bohemian swoon of New Wave and ushered in a toughened-up Auteurs, disdainful of the cheery bonhomie of the nascent Britpop movement (exemplified at the time by one of Haines’s many betes noirs, The Boo Radleys). The immediate results are a coruscating single that sounds like nothing that has gone before.

The November 1993 release of Lenny Valentino might have confounded fans who were expecting more of the arch, Kinksian New Wave stuff. Instead they got an up-tempo two-minute searing guitar assault with a very strange lyric about the soul of 60s angry comic Lenny Bruce being transferred into the body of early 20th-century movie heartthrob Rudolph Valentino.

mp3: The Autuers – Lenny Valentino

It wasn’t really the stuff of jaunty Britpop chart success and breakfast radio ubiquity, but Radio One put it on their A-list and it came very close to being a genuine hit, stalling at number 41.

The CD B-sides are excellent and essential, Car Crazy being a call-back to the New Wave sound, a cello-driven queasy ballad and an early addition to the canon of Haines road songs. Vacant Lot has a cryptic lyric with a hefty hint of the menace that was to characterise future Auteurs work.

mp3: The Autuers – Car Crazy
mp3: The Auteurs – Vacant Lot

The CD single also included the supposed 12” mix of Lenny Valentino, which is about seven seconds longer and not hugely different.

mp3: The Auteurs – Lenny Valentino 12″ mix

The 7” vinyl single offered an alternative B-side, a strumming and strings obscurity later available on the completists’ CD compilation Luke Haines Is Dead.

mp3: The Auteurs – Disneyworld

Residents of the continent were treated to a double A-side single, combining Lenny V with a Francophile track from the imminent new album Now I’m A Cowboy, of which more next week . . .

mp3: The Auteurs – New French Girlfriend

chaval

JC adds……

It’s a genuine thrill to have chaval come on board for this….and I echo every word he says about Lenny Valentino and its various b-sides.

 

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #179 : THE KLF

Bill Drummond was/is part of The KLF. And that’s justifiable enough in my book for this posting.

Edited from wiki:-

The KLF (also known as the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, The JAMs, the Timelords and other names) were a British electronic band started in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Beginning in 1987, Bill Drummond (alias King Boy D) and Jimmy Cauty (alias Rockman Rock) released hip hop-inspired and sample-heavy records as the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, and on one occasion (the British number one hit single “Doctorin’ the Tardis”) as the Timelords. The KLF released a series of international hits on their own KLF Communications record label and became the biggest-selling singles act in the world for 1991

From the outset, they adopted the philosophy espoused by esoteric novel series The Illuminatus! Trilogy, making anarchic situationist manifestations, including the defacement of billboard adverts, the posting of cryptic advertisements in NME magazine and the mainstream press, and unusual performances on Top of the Pops.

On 12 February 1992, the KLF and crust punk group Extreme Noise Terror performed a live version of “3 a.m. Eternal” at the BRIT Awards, the British Phonographic Industry’s annual awards show; a “violently antagonistic performance” in front of “a stunned music-business audience”. Drummond and Cauty had planned to throw buckets of sheep’s blood over the audience, but were prevented from doing so due to opposition from BBC lawyers and Extreme Noise Terror. The performance was instead ended by a limping, kilted, cigar-chomping Drummond firing blanks from an automatic weapon over the heads of the crowd. As the band left the stage, the KLF’s promoter and narrator Scott Piering proclaimed over the PA system that “The KLF have now left the music business”. Later in the evening the band dumped a dead sheep with the message “I died for you – bon appetit” tied around its waist at the entrance to one of the post-ceremony parties.

Scott Piering’s announcement was largely ignored at the time. NME, for example, assured their readers that the tensions and contradictions would continue to “push and spark” the KLF and that more “musical treasure” would be the result.

In the weeks following the BRITs performance, the KLF continued working with Extreme Noise Terror on the album The Black Room,  but it was never finished. On 14 May 1992, the KLF announced their immediate retirement from the music industry and the deletion of their back catalogue:

We have been following a wild and wounded, glum and glorious, shit but shining path these past five years. The last two of which has [sic] led us up onto the commercial high ground — we are at a point where the path is about to take a sharp turn from these sunny uplands down into a netherworld of we know not what. For the foreseeable future there will be no further record releases from The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, The Timelords, The KLF and any other past, present and future name attached to our activities. As of now all our past releases are deleted …. If we meet further along be prepared … our disguise may be complete.

In a comprehensive examination of the KLF’s announcement and its context, Select called it “the last grand gesture, the most heroic act of public self destruction in the history of pop. And it’s also Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty’s final extravagant howl of self disgust, defiance and contempt for a music world gone foul and corrupt.”

Many of the KLF’s friends and collaborators gave their reactions in the magazine. Movie director Bill Butt said that “Like everything, they’re dealing with it in a very realistic way, a fresh, unbitter way, which is very often not the case. A lot of bands disappear with such a terrible loss of dignity”. Scott Piering said that “They’ve got a huge buzz off this, that’s for sure, because it’s something that’s finally thrilling. It’s scary to have thrown away a fortune which I know they have. Just the idea of starting over is exciting. Starting over on what? Well, they have such great ideas, like buying submarines”. Even Kenny Gates, who as a director of the KLF’s distributors APT stood to lose financially from the move, called it “Conceptually and philosophically … absolutely brilliant”. Mark Stent reported the doubts of many when he said that “I [have] had so many people who I know, heads of record companies, A&R men saying, ‘Come on, It’s a big scam.’ But I firmly believe it’s over”. “For the very last spectacularly insane time”, the magazine concluded, “The KLF have done what was least expected of them”.

There have been numerous suggestions that in 1992 Drummond was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Drummond himself said that he was on the edge of the “abyss”. BRIT Awards organiser Jonathan King had publicly endorsed the KLF’s live performance, a response which Scott Piering cited as “the real low point”. The KLF’s BRITs statuette for “Best British Group” of 1992 was later found buried in a field near Stonehenge.

mp3 : The KLF vs Extreme Noise Terror – 3 A.M. Eternal

Yet another that I’m unlikely to air at the football on a Saturday afternoon or at a Simply Thrilled evening.

JC

WHY ARE PEOPLE GRUDGEFUL?

April 1993 saw the release of the 31st single by The Fall. The only previous chart success enjoyed by the band had come via cover versions. There’s A Ghost In My House (as made famous by R. Dean Taylor) had gone Top 30 in 1987 and the following year Victoria (originally by The Kinks) had reached #35.

This time round, Mark E Smith took some drastic action by merging two cover songs into one, and creating a sound that bore little resemblance to the originals. The best and simplest explanation is offered up on a fan site devoted to the band:-

“Why Are People Grudgeful? is a cover version, or to be more accurate, a cover version of two different but related songs. The story behind the original versions is as follows:

“Born in the rural Jamaican village of St. Mary’s in 1936, Lee Perry began his surrealistic musical odyssey in the late ’50s, working with ska man Prince Buster selling records for Clement “Coxsone” Dodd‘s Downbeat Sound System. Called “Little” Perry because of his diminutive stature (Perry stands 4’11”), he was soon producing and recording for Dodd at the centre of the Jamaican music industry, Studio One. After a falling out with Dodd (throughout his career, Perry has a tendency to burn his bridges after he stopped working with someone), Perry went to work at Wirl Records with Joe Gibbs. Perry and Gibbs never really saw eye to eye on anything, and in 1968, Perry left to form his own label, called Upsetter.

Not surprisingly, Perry’s first release on Upsetter was a single entitled People Funny Boy, which was a direct attack upon Gibbs. What is important about the record is that, along with selling extremely well in Jamaica, it was the first Jamaican pop record to use the loping, lazy, bass-driven beat that would soon become identified as the reggae “riddim” and signal the shift from the hyperkinetically upbeat ska to the pulsing, throbbing languor of “roots” reggae.

Joe Gibbs released a reply (using the moniker Sir Gibbs) in a song using the same rhythm called People Grudgeful. MES amalgamated the two songs to help create The Fall’s cover version.”

The reviews were mostly favourable with the UK-based paper Melody Maker going as far as saying it was the most engaging thing Smith had done for a couple of years. As ever, there was no day time airing on the BBC or commercial radio but there were enough sales to see it reach #43. It was also voted in at #11 in the John Peel Festive Fifty of 1993.

mp3 : The Fall – Why Are People Grudgeful?

mp3 : Lee Perry – People Funny Boy
mp3 : Sir Gibbs – People Grudgeful

The 12” version of the single was deleted very soon after release and is one of the harder-to-find and more expensive bits of vinyl across the entire back catalogue. It contained three tracks on the b-side:-

mp3 : The Fall – Glam-Racket
mp3 : The Fall – The Re-Mixer
mp3 : The Fall – Lost In Music

Yup……the latter is a cover of the disco classic as made famous by Sister Sledge. Bonkers and brilliant in equal measures.

JC

NO POP, NO STYLE

This is a sidebar to the current Sunday series that is looking at the singular life of Luke Haines. I did promise that I wouldn’t feature any of the Black Box Recorder singles on the basis that he was part of a collective within that group rather than the main focus of attention….however, re-reading Post-Modern, his second volume of memoirs which covers the period in which BBR were to the fore, reminded me of a great tale that has to be shared, if nothing else to show up how messed-up the music industry was at the tail end of the last century.

The Auteurs had, to all intent and purposes broken up, albeit not quite as a final album would later emerge (something which will be covered in the Sunday series). Luke Haines was at a loose end and bored, and when that happens, he gets himself into mischief. This time round he found two partners in crime in the shape of John Moore (a one-time member of the Jesus and Mary Chain whose current speciality was playing a saw in a 20-strong indie-folk band) and Sarah Nixey, a sultry backing vocalist with the same band for whom Haines would occasionally play glockenspiel. The trio decided to form Black Box Recorder whose debut album, which eventually came out on Chyrsalis Records, was made thanks to five different record labels providing them with sums of £1,000-£1,500 to record demos.

England Made Me, was released in July 1998. It’s lead-off single is Child Psychology but receives no radio play thanks to it having a chorus of ‘Life is Unfair….Kill Yourself or Get Over It’. The follow-up single is the title track of the album, but it too fails to come close to the charts.

The record label bosses feel that the band’s cover of the reggae track Uptown Top Ranking, a huge hit for Althea & Donna in 1977, should be the next single as a further push to improve sales of the album.

mp3 : Althea & Donna – Up Town Top Ranking

Somehow, Luke Haines and his manager persuade the label to cough-up a further £1,000 as a ‘reggae reserach budget’ in advance of the album version being re-recorded for release as a single, a budget which is spent partly on buying reggae singles and albums but mostly on sustaining a rock’n’roll lifestyle.

The fact that the record label thought the cover was worthy of release as a single was just insane. Here’s Luke Haines to explain:-

‘Uptown Top Ranking’ is, in its original form, a thing of true joy as any child of the 70s will attest to. By the time BBR finish with the song it sounds like it’s been fucked with elephant tranquilliser. Any notion of dreadlocks has been replaced by dread.

The cover version started off as an afterthought during the England Made Me sessions; whilst producer Phil Vinall is mixing an album track, we go off and commandeer a little eight-track recorder. The entire song is constructed in the studio vocal booth. John Moore has brought in a sample of an old recording by rum 70s suave man actor Peter Wyngarde. The Wyngarde sample is from a song called ‘Rape’ (a rakish comedy skit on sexual assault). The Wyngarde monstrosity goes into the sampler and we slow it way, way down until we hit negative equity.

Next up is ‘The Turn’. Sarah Nixey doesn’t know Althea and Donna’s original which is perfect; she is also magnificently hungover. Again, perfect. We write out the lyrics – mainly Jamaican patois which we cannot make out – phonetically, and she reads them out into the microphone in one take, with the enthusiasm of a cash and carry shelf stacker. If schoolgirls won’t sing along with our songs on the top deck of the bus, then we will make records that sound as if they’ve been made by a schoolgirl on the bus – a schoolgirl from The Village of The Damned of course. Bung on a bit of bass – lemme wind out me waist – press record, and catch a few incongruous whoops from Moore, and the track is finished in an hour or so.

mp3 : Black Box Recorder – Up Town Top Ranking

Six months later and the trio find themselves in On-U Sound to do the remix. In Haines’s words, a studio where you could record a brass band from Grimsby and it would come out sounding like Augustus Pablo. After a few hours of mucking around, they have something which to Haines’s ears sounds pretty much the same as it did when they first recorded it,  and they hand it over to the record company:-

mp3 : Black Box Recorder – Up Town Top Ranking (remix)

A few days later word comes back that Chrysalis will not be releasing a third BBR single nor will they be contracting a second BBR album. But, as a way of saying sorry for this turn of events, the label offers some more money for further demos so that BBR can try to find a new home at an alternative label. In due course they do, and the second album and one of its singles turn out to be hits.

As I said, the music industry was particularly messed up at the time….bloated with cash from the short-lived boom in CD sales as many abandoned vinyl and bought replacements via the shiny silver discs.  There will be many more similar but untold stories out there……

JC