The Trash Can Sinatras were formed in the late 80s, in a town called Irvine, which is around 25 miles or so south-west of Glasgow.

Much of the initial attention was focussed on singer Frank Reader, simply for the fact that his elder sister, Eddi Reader had enjoyed a fair bit of attention and fame, firstly as a backing vocalist with Gang Of Four, and later as the singer with Fairground Attraction who enjoyed a #1 hit with Perfect in 1988.

I suppose I first noticed the band for the simple reason that they were signed to Go! Disc Records which was the home of Billy Bragg and The Beautiful South, leading me to think the Trashies would be have some sort of political bent. I saw their debut 12” EP on sale in a record shop in Edinburgh and bought it on spec for £2. It was only then that I discovered the band were in fact more aligned with the other reasons that label boss Andy MacDonald signed acts – they wrote and sang gloriously catchy pop songs that were full of clever lyrics that demanded close listening.

In due course, I bought two follow-up EPs as well as the debut LP, all of which appeared in 1990. They were a band on heavy rotation, but it was a period when I wasn’t really giving music too much close attention, as it was a time when I had not long met the now Mrs Villain and there were far more important and pressing things on my mind …….such as sorting out the divorce from the first wife…..

The band remained very active up until 1996, releasing three LPs and ten singles without ever making any great commercial breakthrough although they had good size fanbases in the likes of Japan and the USA where there was a market for the idea of catchy pop songs with clever lyrics.

This wasn’t enough for Universal Music who, having bought over Go Discs! in 1996, took the decision to drop the Trashies.  It would be another nine years before the next LP but Weightlifting proved to be an absolute masterpiece of beautifully bitter-sweet pop melodies which reflected the difficulties the band had endured in the preceeding years.

In The Music was the next LP, released in 2009 and yet another excellent LP for those of us who nowadays are just as  happy to sit and listen to our bands rather than work up a sweat down the moshpit all of the time.

I’ve most of the singles and EPs that the band have released over the years and although it was a tough choice I’m going with the debut EP…and thought I’d re-produce the lyric…it’s one that takes me back to a very awkward and uncertain period in my life when I could quite easily have been destined for eternal life in bedsit hell:-

Always at the foot of the photograph – that’s me there
Snug as a thug in a mugshot pose
Owner of this corner and not much more

Still these days I’m better placed to get my just rewards
I’ll pound out a tune and very soon
I’ll have too much to say and a dead stupid name

Though I ought to be learning I feel like a veteran
Of “Oh I like your poetry but I hate your poems”
Calendars crumble I’m knee deep in numbers
Turned 21, I’ve twist, I’m bust and wrong again

Rubbing shoulders with the sheets till two
Looking at my watch and I’m half-past caring
In the lap of luxury it comes to mind
Is this headboard hard? Am I a lap behind?

But to face doom in a sock-stenched room all by myself
Is the kind of fate I never contemplate
Lots of people would cry though none spring to mind

Though I ought to be learning I feel like a veteran
Of “Oh I like your poetry but I hate your poems”
Calendars crumble I’m knee deep in numbers
Turned 21, I’ve twist, I’m bust and wrong again

Know what it’s like
To sigh at the sight of the first quarter of life?
Ever stopped to think and found out nothing was there?

They laugh to see such fun
Playing Blind Man’s Bluff all by myself
And they’re chanting a line from a nursery rhyme
“Ba Ba Bleary Eyes – Have you any idea?”

The calendar’s cluttered with days that are numbered..

Now have a listen:-

mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – Obscurity Knocks

Here’s the other tracks:-

mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – The Best Man’s Fall
mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – Drunken Chorus
mp3 : The Trash Can Sinatras – Who’s He?



3 thoughts on “SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 112)

  1. One of my favourite tracks of all time… right up there with Roddy & Edwyn for smart lyrics & a great pop melody. Many songwriters never come close to reaching those lyrical heights throughout their entire career output never mind neatly packed into just one song.

  2. Can’t remember where I first heard this, but I bought the single at the time. One of those tunes that gets stuck in your head for days when you hear it. Rediscovered their I’ve Seen Everything album around 6 months ago – couldn’t figure why I’d not played it for so long. Better start checking out the other stuff…

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