When folk got the chance to enjoy the first entry in this new series, Echorich left behind this supportive comment:-

“My favorite freebies will hopefully find their way to this series – NME’s Rough Trade C81, Dancin’ Master and Jive Wire cassettes. These three set the standard for me.”

I kind of feel like the Fat Genie in the fairy tale who has the power to grant three wishes….

Dancin’ Master was a mail-order cassette made available from 18 October 1981 via the NME. It contained 24 songs from a singers and bands across a number of genres including funk, soul, disco, new wave, jazz, pop, reggae, dub, rap and rockabilly, all of which had an uncanny ability to get your feet tapping while most would have you thinking about getting off your seat and throwing your shapes under the glitter ball at you local discotheque.

Full track listing, with descriptions lifted from the cassette insert:-

1. Tom Browne – Funkin For Jamaica

Tom Browne blows his horn on this unreleased version of one of last year’s funkiest floor-fillers

2. Linx – I Wanna Be With You

Go ahead with ‘Go Ahead’s’ I Wanna Be With You

3. Grace Jones – Feel Up

Hear it and you will feel up. A special US club mix of the ‘Nightclubbing’ track

4. Talking Heads – Cities

Talking Heads in concert in Berkeley, California (August 24 1979) and their first-ever appearance on a compilation

5. Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Big Sister

Taped at the ‘Trust’ sessions, the lyrics to ‘Big Sister’s Clothes’ set to the beat of a different drum

6. Beggar & Co – Laughing On

Short-listed as Beggar & Co’s last single but lost out at the last moment to Spandau Ballet collaboration ‘Mule (Chant No.2)’

7. The Funky 4 + 1 – That’s The Joint

The sound of Sugarhill at its most savage – rip, rap and party funk-punk

8. Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Inbetweenies

Lord Upminster Y Los Blockheads on stage at the Hammersmith Odeon 11.8.79

9. Kid Creole & The Coconuts – There But For The Grace Of God Go I.

The Kid vigorously shakes his Coconuts in public! Originally recorded by Machine, this ‘live’ track was only ever available as a ludicrously limited bonus single with the initial copies of the Kid’s ‘Fresh Fruit In Foreign Places’ LP

10. The Lounge Lizards – Stomping At The Corona

These five New Yorkers who put the zoot into their suits offer a hitherto unrecorded original from a 1981 club date in Paris. The Lounge Lizards are John Lurie (alto sax), Evan Lurie (keyboards), Dane Vicek (guitar), Steve Piccolo (bass) and Anton Fier (drums)

11. The Polecats – Rockabilly Guy (Dub Mix)

The Polecats played it. Dave Edmunds produced it. Dennis Bovell dubbed it-it-it-it-it

12. Lloyd Coxone – Zion Bound

Legendary dub master’s exclusive contribution. Definetly hotter, heavier and harder than the rest as Coxone’s soon-come album of radical rhythms will testify

13. Madness – Shadow On The House

The ‘Carry On….’ team go country

14. The Beat – Hit It!

The electric toaster Rankin’ Roger serves it up exclusively for dancin’ masters everywhere

15. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five – The Birthday Party

Rapid rap-artee from Grandmaster Flash….fast and furious and one of the year’s most sought after imports

16. Junior Giscombe – Mama Used To Say

From the same stable as Linx and a different mix of the most spectacular Brit-Funk debut of ’81

17. The B-52’s – Give Me Back My Man (Instrumental)

It’s A Go-Go Time with the Georgia Peaches and a track from an unreleased instrumental album, ‘The B-52s play The B-52’s Greatest Hits!’

18. Susan – 24,000 Kiss

A Yellow Magic Orchestra protege, Susan is currently touted as the main contender for the title ‘Japan’s first lady of techno-pop’

19. The Jam – When You’re Young

Paul, Bruce, Rick and their audience very much alive in Newcastle, October 28, 1980

20. Dennis Bovell – Better

The ubiquitous Bovell with one of his ‘Brain Damage’ tracks

21. The Plastics – Last Train To Clarksville

Micro-chip Monkee business, hitherto only available as a limited edition flexi picture disc

22. James White & The Blacks – Contort Yourself

Re-produced by August Darnell.  James Chance (alto sax, vocal), Jody Harris (guitar), Adele Bertei (keyboards), George Scott (bass) and Dan Christensen (drums)

23. The Teardrop Explodes – Traison (C’est Juste Une Histoire)

Pretentious? Moi?

24. U2 – An Cat Dubh

Bono Vox’s Celtic Crusaders bedazzle Bean Town, USA. In other words U2 live in Boston

As I mentioned last time out, a compilation such as this will be very much hit’n’miss depending on your own musical preferences as I can’t see anyone arguing that we have 24 carat-gold here…but there’s no doubt the good more than outweighs the bad.

Interesting if you listen closely to the live renditions offered up by Talking Heads and The Blockheads. The vocal delivery may be incredibly different but both bands churn out a funky, infectious beat that is almost interchangeable. I’d never quite realised that before when listening to the studio material of both bands.

Interesting too, that the majority of the acts on the tape enjoyed at least a smattering of commercial success during what were often fleeting careers as the fashions moved on while there are a few giants in there who are still going strong more than thirty-three and a third revolutions of the yearly calendar later.

As before, simply click on the song for the mp3. Apologies that the quality isn’t all that great. I do have most of the NME tapes on my hard drive – a number of years ago a very generous reader of the old blog made copies available to be ripped direct from the hissy cassettes and sometimes the editing isn’t 100% perfect at the beginning or end of the track, but I’m sure none of that will spoil your enjoyment.

And here’s a wee bonus to enjoy.  Most of us will know (and secretly love) Chant No.1 by Spandau Ballet.  The reference in the notes to this song made me go find it and include it today:-

mp3 : Beggar & Co – Mule (Chant No.2) (12″ version)

It’s nowhere near the class of Chant No.1 but hey, there may well be some of you out there who like it.



  1. After a few plays of these cover mount cassettes I often put sellotape over the holes and recorded over them – more fool me, cos a lot of this one is great. Surprised how well the Bovell and Coxone tunes hold up and ‘Contort Yourself’ is still terrific. Also, I was at that Jam show – brilliant!

  2. This wasn’t a cover mounted cassette, but one of a series you had to send away for and pay a minimal amount. There was also a set of themed cassettes at that time, including ‘Hit The Road Stax’, Ace and punk compilations and much, much more.
    The comment under Talking Heads, of how it was there first time on a compilation, used to make me chuckle as I looked at my copy of the ‘New Wave’ album from 1978 on Vertigo which featured ‘Building On Fire.:
    Thank you for posting this lost gem.

  3. I really annoy myself because I DO secretly love Chant No. 1 and I can’t stand Spandau Ballet. Far and away my favourite music blog, keep up the good work JC! Cheers.

  4. Great memories and a fab comp, as good as if not better than C81. One small point however, a I’m such a geek about these that I don’t even need to check that Talking Heads first appeared on a Sire “punk” compilation with LOve Goes To Building On Fire. Keep up the great work JC

  5. THANKS SO MUCH JC!!!! I have to confess that in my previous incarnation as a photographers’ agent (me and Howard Devoto have something in common!) NME was a client and then Senior Editor Neil Spencer and I became frendly…he would send each of these releases in triplicate for my friends and I to enjoy. Mine are locked away in a sealed plastic container and I dare not ever attempt playing them again.
    Listen to the great Grace Jones, Kid Creole, James White and the incredible Dennis Bovell! But I love EVERY TRACK on this one!!

  6. Looks like a nice compilation indeed, “Bono Vox’s Celtic Crusaders” made me laugh out loud though ….

  7. Still got this cassette (sure I had to send off for it though) and still struggle to pick a favourite from it. Quality.

  8. Thanks, JC!

    Yeah you did have to send off for it (think you also had to save some coupons as well) I still have my copies but don’t have a cassette player any more…

    Also, I’ve just realized that I’ve still got the pages of the Indie City supplement “NME’s Definitive A-Z Independent Chart Hits 1980-88” – a bit yellowed round the edges but makes for some interesting reading!

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