ANOTHER OLD SCOTTISH BAND DEBUTING ROUND THESE PARTS

Turning again to the Big Gold Dreams box set for inspiration and shining a light on Boots For Dancing.

The fact that this Edinburgh band, who were around initially from 1979 – 1982, didn’t appear in the alphabetical rundown of the Scottish songs that appears here most Saturdays is the perfect indicator that I didn’t, until the purchase of the box set, have anything by them in the collection.

Wiki advises that:-

The band was formed in late 1979 by Dave Carson (vocals), Graeme High (guitar), Dougie Barrie (bass), and Stuart Wright (drums). Showing influences from the likes of Gang of Four and The Pop Group, they signed to the Pop Aural label for their eponymous debut single, receiving airplay from John Peel. In the next two years, the band had more line-up changes than releases, first with ex-Shake and Rezillos drummer Angel Paterson replacing Wright, to be replaced himself by Jamo Stewart and Dickie Fusco. Former Thursdays guitarist Mike Barclay then replaced High, who joined Delta 5. The band also added ex-Shake/Rezillos guitarist Jo Callis for second single “Rain Song”, issued in March 1981. Callis then left to join The Human League, with no further line-up changes before third single “Ooh Bop Sh’Bam” was released in early 1982. Barrie then departed, his replacement being ex-Flowers/Shake/Rezillos bassist Simon Templar (b. Bloomfield), and ex-Josef K drummer Ronnie Torrance replaced the departing Fusco and Stewart (the latter forming The Syndicate). The band split up later in 1982.

Between line-up changes, the band recorded two sessions for John Peel’s BBC radio show, in 1980 and 1981. In 2015 they reformed and released The Undisco Kidds, an album of recordings from the 1980s.

An article in The Herald newspaper at the end of 2015, presumably to coincide with the band reforming and the release of The Undisco Kidds , expanded somewhat on this rudimentary information, including the observation that while they weren’t alone in enjoying and benefiting from the patronage of John Peel, they transcended the norm for the simple fact that the DJ was on record as saying they were one of the few bands whose music was liable to persuade him on to the dance floor.

Boots For Dancing were an unusual act, and judging from the constantly changing line-up, one which lived off a fair bit of creative tension. The constant presence throughout was Dave Carson, whom the Herald article describes as ‘frontman, vocalist, proto-rapper and mean mover’ It also refers to the 2015 album, which brings together tracks from the Peel sessions and mostly previously unreleased material from 1981, and gives it high praise:-

“The variety in the music is terrific, ranging from the foot-stomping chants of Get Up and Ooh Bop Sh’Bam that grew straight from that eponymous punk-disco debut, to the lounge supper club jazz aesthetic of Style in Full Swing and South Pacific and culminating in the uncategorisable Bend and Elbow, Lend an Ear. While the skill of the young musicians develops in provocative directions, the common thread is Carson’s way with an ear-catching lyric, cheerfully plundering a hinterland of showtunes, gospel and r’n’b for memorable phrases to repurpose.”

The track on Big Gold Dream is their third single, dating from 1982:-

mp3 : Boots For Dancing – Ooh Bop Sh’Bam

Upon hearing this, I have a feeling that I danced to it a few times back in the days at the Student Union – I probably went to the trouble of finding out who the song was by but wasn’t interested enough to take it further by seeking it out in a record shop. Kind of says more about the real narrowness of my tastes at the time than anything else.

Here’s the Talking Heads-esque b-side of the single:-

mp3 : Boots For Dancing – Money (Is Thin On The Ground)

And here’s a link to where you can pick up a copy of the 2015 album.

JC

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