There are people far better qualified and with far more knowledge than me to write about the song featuring today. I was late to the work of Bobby Wratten, one of the most important and influential UK indie musicians of the 90s and 00s and yet the mention of his name will usually invoke an answer of ‘Who?’.
My introduction came a little over ten years ago when I was discovering new music thanks to the wonderous talents of music bloggers whose passion for the music they were writing about and featuring with attached mp3s was so infectious that I decided to start one of my own. It was through such places that I heard, for the first time about The Field Mice, Northern Picture Library and Trembling Blue Stars, all bands with which Bobby Wratten was involved.
The story behind the last of these is quite sad. Bobby had been in a long-term relationship with Annmari Davies who had also been a member of The Field Mice and Northern Picture Library. The break-up of their relationship led, unsurprisingly to the dissolution of the latter band after just one album and a handful of singles.
A heartbroken Wratten, who was already on record as a self-professed incurable romantic, decided to write a lot of songs about his ex, all of which appeared on a wonderfully delicate LP called Her Handwriting in 1994 which was attributed to a new band called Trembling Blue Stars. It was however, really a solo effort with the assistance of Ian Catt who had previously worked with St Etienne.
The LP has variously been described, accurately, as an unabashed hankie-wringer capturing every type of emotion that comes with the unexpected ending of a relationship.
The LP was led off by this 7″ single, which was the first recording to come out on Shinkansen Recordings, which was seen as the natural successor to the recently dissolved Sarah Records:-
mp3 : Trembling Blue Stars – ABBA on the Jukebox (7″ version)
mp3 : Trembling Blue Stars – She’s Always There
It really is the most gorgeous and fragile of recordings with a lyric that recalls the happy memories of time spent together.
The album followed a few weeks later and included a much extended version of the debut single:-
mp3 : Trembling Blue Stars – ABBA on the Jukebox
See, I do have a sensitive side which offers empathy to those whose hearts are in need of mending.
Oh, and worth mentioning that Annmari would work again with Bobby as part of Trembling Blue Stars on a number of their later recordings.