I’m sure everyone of you has a similar story to tell……
A new band comes on the scene and the noise they make on the radio and in print is quite appealing. As a music fan, you invest some of your hard earned spare cash into buying product which doesn’t disappoint. You even make an effort to catch them live on stage and come away impressed. The next thing is that you’re telling your mates and work colleagues that said band really are a bit special and well worth checking out.
But then one day, something happens that irritates you. It might be an unexpectedly duff record. It might be something you read after the most prominent member of the band has said something really stupid or even offensive. Now you find yourself on the defensive about the band and no longer find yourself championing them. Before you know it, you take on the traits of someone who has reformed after a drink or drug addiction and become a bit holier-than-thou and start denouncing the band.
Welcome to the my relationship with Deacon Blue.
Formed in the mid 80s, I first came across this lot thanks to them being one of a number of unknown Scottish artists who were on a compilation cassette called Honey At The Core.
They had an elegant and eloquent front man in Ricky Ross. I particularly loved that, at a period in time when Glasgow had been dismissed by many as just another former industrial city with nothing going for it, Ricky Ross was someone who was prepared to argue just how special a place it was, and how it was more than capable of getting off its knees. The music he and his band were churning out was also enjoyable. It was just the right side of anthemic and it also had a bit of a political edge. A song like Raintown could only be about a city like Glasgow, and a song like Dignity could only be about someone who came from Glasgow. The cover on the debut LP, released in 1987, was a fantastic photograph of the Glasgow of old when it was famous for shipbuilding and engineering. Yes, there was a degree of nostalgia about it all, but at a time when I had not long left for the first time in my life and re-located to Edinburgh, it was the sort of LP that I could put on of an evening and think of home.
Unsurprisingly, the band began to grow in popularity and soon became regulars in the singles and album charts, particularly after the release of their second LP When The World Knows Your Name in 1989. The new songs were totally different from the debut – very radio-friendly and of such mass appeal that the band were capable of selling out more than one night at the 12,000 capacity hall at the SECC.
Some of the new stuff got on my nerves, as did the fact that Ricky Ross was all over the media saying how his songwriting was developing as a craft and that he was an artist who wanted to be remembered for the timeless quality of his songs. Nor did it help that he was also using his new found fame to jump on his soapbox and tell anyone prepared to listen that the only way Glasgow and Scotland make progress was through political independence.
In other words…he turned into a pretentious, pompous self-deluding arse….and the music the band were pumping out was becoming unbearable to listen to.
But you can never take away the magic of some of the early stuff:-
mp3 : Deacon Blue – Raintown
mp3 : Deacon Blue – Dignity
mp3 : Deacon Blue – Riches
If you think I’m being harsh on Ricky, you should hear me when the name of Pat Kane of Hue and Cry is mentioned…..