I’ll often defend Franz Ferdinand if anyone ever has a go at them. For one thing, their 2004 self-titled debut LP remains an excellent and consistent piece of work which deservedly made them not just media darlings but hugely popular with the record-buying public.

But the other thing that I loved about them at that time was their decision to record and release a limited edition 7″ single with Fire Engines, a great Scottish band from the 80s that I have been known to rave about over at the old blog.

It would have been quite easy for Franz Ferdinand to have simply paid lip service to the debt they owed Fire Engines for the spiky guitar sound that they do so well. But instead, they chose to bring a long overlooked act to the wider attention of the public with this particular collaboration which saw a hugely popular FF song covered by FE, and a much-neglected and wonderful FE song given the FF treatment:-

mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Get Up And Use Me
mp3 : Fire Engines – Jacqueline

The single was never intended for general sale, but was available to buy at two gigs in December 1994 when Fire Engines opened for Franz Ferdinand. Sadly, it was a gesture not appreciated by the mob as this review from the time indicates:-

At the first of two hometown gigs to cap their annus mirabilis, they invited their favourite Scottish pop band of yore, The Fire Engines, to reform once more for the occasion. The Edinburgh post-punkers’ set flew right over most of the crowd members’ heads, so plastic beer glasses flew over the band members’ heads.

After a customarily pithy set, dedicated to John Peel “and anyone else who’s dead”, The Fire Engines departed to a chorus of boos, but to the core faithful, the spiky fuzz of Get Up And Use Me, the madly danceable New Things In Cartons and the almost conventionally melodic Meat Whiplash were still a buzz 25 years on.

The thing is, knowing how frontman Davey Henderson’s mind works, he’d have been rather pleased to have got such a reaction from such a mainstream audience….I don’t think he could have coped with being cheered off stage.  I was quite sad and disappointed that I couldn’t get a ticket as I’d have willingly risked injury going down the front and dancing away to the old guys and just as sadly, missing the gig meant I couldn’t get my hands on the tour single.  But then again I wouldn’t have enjoyed the thrill and excitement of seeing a copy for just £3 in a charity shop.

Oh and here’s yer originals:-

mp3 : Fire Engines – Get Up And Use Me
mp3 : Franz Ferdinand – Jacqueline

That’s why they only work when they need the money.

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