THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF LUKE HAINES (7)

Chaval told the story last week of how The Auteurs sought to bounce back from the disappointment of a close-run thing with the 1993 Mercury Prize by recording and releasing an astonishing and surreal single that stalled at #41.  He also highlighted just how good the b-sides were, all of which bore well for the release of the next album.

Prior to that, we were treated to another advance single.  As was all the rage at the time, there were multiple formats – 2 x 7″ singles or 2 x CD singles offering up different choices for b-sides, with either a white or black picture sleeve.

mp3 : The Auteurs – Chinese Bakery

This was another triumphant and superb piece of music, opening with a melancholic vocal and cello refering to someone from uptown going downtown to where the brokers and dealers socialise…and then the bass and guitars kick in with a fair amount of ferociousness.    At any other time other than April 1994, this would have been given all sorts of column inches in the music press as the next essential element in how British indie pop music should be developing…..except that it was released about a month after Blur had experienced their first Top 10 hit with Girls & Boys and in the same week as the debut single by a new band called Oasis.  Oh, and Suede were still riding high although there were rumours that Bernard Butler wasn’t entirely happy with his lot.  In short, the media had enough to keep themselves occupied with concerning themselves about the views of Luke Haines.

Chinese Bakery stalled at #42.  It was a tough one to take.

The white 7″ and CD single offered up two more outstanding cuts as b-sides, with the latter seeming to be a title for a Haines Manifesto :-

mp3 : The Auteurs – Government Bookstore
mp3 : The Auteurs – Everything You Say Will Destroy You

The black CD offered up one new acoustic song and an acoustic version of the new single:-

mp3 : The Auteurs – Modern History (acoustic)
mp3 : The Auteurs – Chinese Bakery (acoustic)

The following month, the album Now I’m A Cowboy hit the shops. Eleven biting, sarcastic, knowing and occasionally angry/resigned pieces of music, including the most recent two singles and a full band version of Modern History. It got rave reviews but it just didn’t really connect with the buying public, albeit it went Top 20 on the week of release. The problem was that it went down really quickly and the record label bosses despaired that it didn’t have any songs to compete with the happy-go-lucky stuff that was coming out of other parts of London and from Manchester. As Haines would relect many years later in Bad Vibes:-

Blur release their annoying Parklife album at approximately the same time as Now I’m A Cowboy. It sells 46 billion copies in Swindon alone and the world changes forever. From this point on anything that sells less than 46 billion is deemed a resounding failure. We are now on a different trajectory.

The coming weeks will show just how very different a trajectory was deliberately chosen……

JC

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #180 : DREVER McCUSKER WOOMBLE

From the website of Navigator Records:-

As the old adage goes, if you want something done, ask someone busy. And if you want to hear some of the freshest, savviest, sweetest and most original songwriting around, look no further than three of the busiest musicians in Scotland, newly in cahoots as a trio: Kris Drever, John McCusker and Roddy Woomble. With their respectively distinguished pedigrees ranging freely across the folk and rock spectrum – and overlapping via several previous projects – each brings a wealth of diverse experience to the table, in a collaboration impelled primarily by that most magical of musical catalysts: pure enthusiasm.

“Our paths had all crossed in various ways over the past few years – working with Kate Rusby, and on Kris and Roddy’s solo albums – and our starting-point was basically just that we all really liked each other’s stuff,” says McCusker, the ex-Battlefield Band fiddler now equally renowned as a producer, composer and multi-instrumentalist. “There was no plan, except to try and write good songs: let’s all meet up and see what happens. That sense of freedom’s been really exciting, the opposite of keeping things safe – just putting yourself in that space where spontaneous things can happen, where you’ll just go for it and wing it; not worrying about making it immaculate, but going with whatever happens in the moment.”

For Woomble, who recently marked ten years as lead singer of top indie-rock band Idlewild, the new trio project is a natural onward step from his acclaimed 2006 solo debut, My Secret Is My Silence. “Being in the same band for that long, you get used to writing songs in that context,” he says. “The solo record was the first time I’d really pushed myself in other directions, and that’s given me the confidence to take it further: Kris and John each have such a different take on things like melody and lyrics, but we’re all working equally on the songs together, so the whole thing feels totally new. And it’s great getting to make another ‘first’ album at our age.”

That forthcoming fresh yet seasoned debut, named simply for its authorial triumvirate, was written over the course of just six or seven afternoons in McCusker’s Edinburgh living-room, demo-ed on a laptop, then transferred to the studio with judiciously minimal embellishment. “It was amazingly quick,” says Drever, the Orcadian singer-guitarist who won a 2007 Radio 2 Folk Award for his own first solo album, Black Water, and is a member of firebrand folk trio Lau. “We had a target number of songs we wanted to record, and we really didn’t discard many. A lot of them have stayed quite stripped-down, keeping that rawness, though there’s bass and drums on others, and a fair number of the colourful jazzy chords I like. It’s ended up an unusual mix – not quite folky, not quite rock – but it’s all really musical.”

Fruitfully muddying the waters still further is an array of stellar guests from both the folk and rock spheres, including Radiohead drummer Philip Selway, Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake (vocals) and Francis MacDonald (drums), Capercaillie bandmates Donald Shaw (keyboards), Mike McGoldrick (flute/whistles) and Ewen Vernal (bass), plus Irish singer Heidi Talbot.

Forging the ideal balance between innocence and experience, Drever, McCusker and Woomble achieve a rare and thrilling synergy. With that founding enthusiasm only compounded by making the album, due out in spring/summer 2008, they’ll be hitting the road for a full UK tour in the autumn.

KRIS DREVER: Orkney-born Kris, emerged from the ferment of the late-90s Edinburgh session scene as a member of bands including Fine Friday and Session A9, and an increasingly sought-after accompanist, working with artists including Eddi Reader and Julie Fowlis. Fast building his name both as a guitarist of exceptionally eclectic talent, and a singularly eloquent interpreter of traditional and contemporary songs, he released his debut solo album, Black Water, in October 2006 for Reveal Records, going on to win the Horizon prize for best newcomer at the following year’s Radio 2 Folk Awards. Doubling as a founder member of the electrifying folk trio Lau, alongside fiddler Aidan O’ Rourke and accordionist Martin Green, he spent much of 2007 taking the international festival circuit by storm.

JOHN McCUSKER: Was born in the same Bellshill hospital as most of Teenage Fanclub and Sheena Easton, John McCusker formed his first band, Parcel O’Rogues, at fifteen, and joined top Scottish folk act the Battlefield Band two years later, remaining with them until 2001. During this time he also began a twelve-year partnership with celebrated Yorkshire folk-singer Kate Rusby, producing several of her award-winning albums and anchoring her live band. John’s film and TV soundtrack credits include the Damien O’Donnell movie Heartlands, Jennifer Saunders’ BBC1 sitcom Jam and Jerusalem, and Billy Connolly’s World Tour of New Zealand. He has recently recorded on Mark Knopfler and Paul Weller’s latest albums, and is current producing the forthcoming debut solo release by Radiohead drummer Philip Selway. In between working with Kris and Roddy, John will be spending much of 2008 in private jets and stadiums, as a guest on Mark Knopfler’s world tour before releasing another album and tour from his Under One Sky commission in the early Autumn of 2008.

RODDY WOOMBLE: A native of Irvine – small-town Scotland writ large – Roddy co-founded Idlewild in 1995, naming the band for the quiet haven featured in his then-favourite book, Anne of Green Gables. Given that the NME likened their early punk-fuelled sound – deftly revisited on their latest album, 2007’s Make Another World – to “a flight of stairs falling down a flight of stairs”, the quiet haven part was initially somewhat ironic, but gradually came closer as Idlewild meanwhile progressed through sweeping melodic rock to rootsy, melodic sparseness. Extending that softer lyrical vein of Roddy’s songwriting, 2006 saw his first solo release, My Secret Is My Silence, winning rave reviews across both the rock and folk press. He was also a key instigator behind the acclaimed 2007 album Ballads of the Book, bringing together leading Scottish poets and musicians to collaborate on new songs. After extensive recent touring with Idlewild, Roddy will be spending much of 2008 – as every other year – scribbling observations and lyrics in his notebook while out on walks.

JC adds….

I’ve one song from the album, courtesy of it being included in the CD that came with a monthly music magazine in October 2008:-

mp3 : Kris Drever, John McCusker and Roddy Woomble – Into The Blue

It’s decent enough and there will, I’m sure be some folk out there who really like it, but it wasn’t enough to make me want to explore further.

JC

BUT SOMEHOW THE VITAL CONNECTION IS MADE

I only know of The Passions via them having a one-off minor hit in the UK singles chart back in early 1981. But going by the tale on wiki, the band members knew and worked with lots of folk over many years:-

Based in Shepherd’s Bush in west London, the Passions formed in early 1978 as the Youngsters with a lineup of Barbara Gogan (guitar, vocals), Claire Bidwell (bass guitar), Richard Williams (drums), Dack Dyde (guitar) and Mitch Barker (vocals). Williams and Gogan were previously in the punk rock outfit the Derelicts. After a name change to Rivers of Passion, soon shortened to the Passions, Dyde was replaced by Clive Timperley (formerly of the 101ers, which was Joe Strummer‘s old outfit)

The Passions’ first single, issued in March 1979 on the Soho label, was “Needles and Pills” (written by Dyde), which assisted in gaining the band a recording contract with Fiction Records.  By the time the band recorded the first of three Peel sessions in November 1979, Barker had departed and Gogan took over as lead vocalist.

Michael & Miranda, the band’s debut album, was produced by Fiction head Chris Parry and engineered by Mike Hedges. In May 1980, the Passions embarked on a UK and European tour supporting labelmates the Cure. Bidwell left after the tour, replaced in July 1980 by David Agar, and the band were dropped by Fiction.

A meeting with Peter Wilson, the in-house producer for Polydor Records, led to the band signing to that label, which released their third single, “The Swimmer”, on 1 October 1980.

Their major chart hit, “I’m in Love with a German Film Star”, was released as the band’s fourth single on 23 January 1981.The lyrics were written by Gogan about Steve Connelly, a one-time roadie for the Clash and Sex Pistols who had minor roles in several German films. It was produced by Peter Wilson. According to Wilson, “It was a song that almost seemed to write itself”. The music weeklies declared the song “Single of the Week”, and it was named “Peoples Choice” on Capital Radio. This led to a Top of the Pops appearance on 5 February 1981, which was repeated on 26 February.

The next single, “Skin Deep”, produced by Nigel Gray, was issued on 2 July 1981.  “Skin Deep” and the previous two A-sides (“The Swimmer” and “I’m in Love with a German Film Star”) were included, along with several brand new recordings, on the band’s second album, Thirty Thousand Feet Over China, released 18 September 1981.

Timperley left the band in Verona in December 1981, during the Italian leg of their prophetically named “Tour Till We Crack” tour, as a result of “serious political differences”. The next single, “Africa Mine”, released on 8 January 1982, was recorded by the remaining members prior to a lineup change.

Kevin Armstrong, previously with Local Heroes SW9 and a contributor to Thomas Dolby‘s debut album, joined the Passions in 1982. The group also added a keyboard player, Jeff Smith, best known for his past work with Lene Lovich. Armstrong and Smith took part in the recording of the band’s third album, Sanctuary, produced by Mick Glossop. The first single, “Jump for Joy”, was released 5 May, followed by the album and “Sanctuary” single on 18 September 1982.

Stephen Wright, previously in the band Bim, then replaced Armstrong. The band toured Europe and the US, and appeared on The Old Grey Whistle Test on BBC 2, and Whatever You Want on Channel 4. The Passions dissolved for good in the middle of 1983, after playing their last show at London’s Marquee Club that August.

mp3 : The Passions – I’m In Love With a German Film Star
mp3 : The Passions – (Don’t Talk To Me), I’m Shy

I was sure this had been a top 10 hit but seems it stalled at #25.

Here they are performing it, and another track, live on the telly.

 

JC

YOUR SEXUAL POLITICS HAVE LEFT ME ALL OF A MUDDLE

The thing is, if this song had been in existence a few years earlier, my life would have been a lot easier:-

mp3 : Billy Bragg – Greetings to the New Brunette

Falling in love with a feminist at university in 1984 wasn’t the cleverest thing I ever did. Of course I was attracted to her because she was good-looking, but I wouldn’t dare tell her that was what it was all about. She was smart, articulate and incredibly aware and sure of her politics, and I did learn an awful lot from her. But I was, at heart, a boy who loved his football, his music, his dancing and, yes, the company of mates who were prone to boorish and occasionally offensive behaviour.

I tried my best, but I couldn’t be perfect and the relationship really was doomed from the outset.

Greetings to the New Brunette came up on a podcast thing I was listening to a few days ago, and it was probably the first time in three or four years I had heard it right through. I had forgotten how wonderful a tune and song it is (with a tip of the hat to Kirsty MacColl and Johnny Marr) and I got a little bit misty-eyed with the nostalgia of it all, with the realisation that I was fortunate to grow up in the era I did, not just for the great music I was exposed to, but the opportunities that life has afforded me, from not having to take a job on leaving school to meeting incredible people at every stage of my life.

I’ve got this on 12″ vinyl. Here’s your b-sides:-

mp3 : Billy Bragg – Deportees
mp3 : Billy Bragg – The Tatler
mp3 : Billy Bragg – Jeane
mp3 : Billy Bragg – There Is Power In A Union (instrumental)

The first of these is a cover of a Woody Guthrie song, inspired by a tragic incident of which I had no inkling until writing this post. Click here.  Billy is very ably assisted on this one by Hank Wangford.

The second is a cover of a track that is best-known from its version by Ry Cooder but which in fact dates back to the 1930s as the work of Washington Phillips, an American gospel and gospel blues singer who, in an oversight, doesn’t get any credit on Billy’s release on this single.

The third, as has been mentioned before on this blog, is a stunning version of an early Smiths b-side, while the last track is exactly as it says on the tin, an instrumental take on one of Billy’s best-known political songs.

JC

TWELVE SINGLES

This isn’t an ICA as such, but it could quite easily pass for one, albeit a very lazy one.

The Monochrome Set, formed in 1978 in London, would go on to release twelve singles between 1979 and 1985, before their initial break-up. Almost all twelve of the singles are worthy of sitting in the collection of any fan of fiendishly catchy, clever and danceable indie-pop.

The one constant throughout this time was singer and main song-writer Bid, whose real-name is Ganesh Seshadri. The original line-up also include Lester Square (real name Thomas Hardy) on guitar, John D Haney on Drums and Charlie X on bass, albeit he was only part of the line-up for a short time, being replaced by the time they went into the studio by Jeremy Harrington. The first three singles came out in 1979 on Rough Trade:-

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – He’s Frank
mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Eine Symphonie des Grauens
mp3 : The Monochrome Set – The Monochrome Set

I’ll be honest and say that I wasn’t huge on the band at this time, only very occasionally hearing one of their songs via the John Peel show and there was nobody at school championing their cause. If I had been aware of the quality of these singles, I’d have snapped them up at the time…..or at least I’d like to think I would have…..the 15/16 year old me might have thought them just a tad too quirky and maybe it was best that I didn’t discover them for a few more years, courtesy of these and later singles being aired at nights in the student union.

1980 saw the band switch to Dindisc, becoming the fourth act after Martha & The Muffins, Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark and The Revillos to record an album for a label that was an offshoot of Virgin Records. By this point, they were onto yet another bassist, Andy Warren who proved to be very durable. The debut album, Strange Boutique, received fairly mixed reviews with most journos uncomfortable at being unable to pin-down the band into a genre or come up with any suitable comparisons to any other group doing the rounds at that point in time. It is fair to say that the album wasn’t as immediate or accessible as the earlier singles, as evidenced by the fact that only one song was deemed worthy of an a-side, and even that was a different recording from what appeared on the album:-

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – The Strange Boutique

The album had been recorded with Bob Sargeant, one of the most prolific producers of the era, but he was ditched for the sophomore effort, Love Zombies, which was issued just eight months after the debut, meaning that the band had pulled off the impressive feat of two albums in a calendar year. The production duties were taken on by Alvin Clark, better known at the time as an engineer, but who was an attractive option as he could add keyboards to the band’s sound. Two 45s were lifted from the album:-

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – 405 Lines
mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Apocalypso

The band left Dindisc shortly afterwards and 1981 proved to be a very quiet time with just one single issued, on PRE Records which was a sub-label of Charisma Records between 1980 and 1982 that was used primarily to issue singles by new wave and reggae acts.

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Ten Don’ts for Honeymooners

1982 was the year that I finally discovered The Monochrome Set. By this point in time, JD Haney had taken his leave to be replaced on the drummer’s stool by Lexington Crane – and as a parting gift, the band decided to make an new instrumental track for use as a b-side which they lovingly called J.D.H.A.N.E.Y. They had also switched to another indie label – Cherry Red – for whom they would record what many feel was their finest ever album, Eligible Bachelors. It was a collection of tunes that harked back to the earliest singles, fitting in wonderfully with the increasingly off-kilter sounds of successful indie-pop in the era when the likes of Orange Juice finally made a breakthrough. Two tracks were issued by Cherry Red as 45s:-

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – The Mating Game
mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Jet Set Junta

To be accurate, the version of Jet Set Junta that was issued as a 45 was different from that made available on Eligible Bachelors. It was only released in 1983 to accompany Volume, Contrast, Brilliance…which was a Cherry Red compilation of radio sessions and hard-to-find B-sides from earlier singles dating back to the Rough Trade era. Jet Set Junta was from one of the radio sessions, recorded in December 1981 and which had marked Lexington Crane’s first formal involvement with the band.

You’ll have worked it out by now that this was a band that wasn’t the greatest at hanging on to members. Things had taken an took an alarming turn for the worse immediately after the release of Strange Boutique in that Lester Square, regarded by most fans as not just the perfect foil for Bid but the de facto depute leader of the band, decided to quit as did the new drummer, meaning that The Monochrome Set, just as it appeared they could reach into the mainstream, had been reduced to a duo of a frontman and bassist. I think it’s a fair assumption to feel that ‘musical differences’, however widely you would want that defined, was at the heart of matters.

Keyboardist Carrie Booth, drummer Nicholai Weslowski and percussionist Camilla Weslowska were soon brought on board and this five-piece recorded a single, released on Cherry Red, before the year was out:-

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Cast A Long Shadow

Things went quiet for a while, with just the aforementioned Cherry Red compilation to keep fans happy in 1983, an album on which six musicians were credited of whom four were no longer associated with the band.

There was no new material in 1984 but the band returned in 1985. They were back to being a four-piece with Carrie Booth and Camilla Weslowska having been jettisoned. Unbelievably, they were on yet another new label, their fourth in six years, having been enticed by their old mate Geoff Travis to sign for Blanco Y Negro, the label backed by Warner Brothers and which was already home to Everything But The Girl. This was, by far, their best chance to make it big.

There was one album and two singles, both of which sold enough to be acknowledged as reaching the Top 100, but nowhere close to the success hoped for by the label bosses:-

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Jacob’s Ladder (6 weeks in the Top 100, peaking at #81)
mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Wallflower (1 week in the Top 100, reaching #97)

Before the year was out, the band broke-up, reforming in 1990 as five-piece that included Bid, Lester Square and Andy Warren from the old days, releasing five new albums of material and touring extensively before again calling it a day in 2000…..except, they reformed yet again in 2010, with Bid, Square and Warren all involve yet again. Three more albums followed before Lester Square decided to take his leave at the end of 2014 (he had not long turned 60 years of age) although this time round the band kept going, and earlier this year they released Fabula Mendax, their fifteenth studio album.

JC

IT REALLY WAS A CRACKING DEBUT SINGLE (33)

The debut single by Suede was released in May 1992. It has long been viewed as one of their very best but, contrary to popular belief, it was something of a flop in commercial terms, barely scraping into the Top 50.

There have been lots of things written about The Drowners, some of which make more sense than others. I’m surely not alone in wondering what the hell the NME was on about when, having listed the song at #104 in its ‘Greatest of All Time’, said. “Brett and co sashayed onto the scene with this swooner and soon turned indie an androgynous shade of jaundiced yellow”

Most of what has been written over the past 25 years has concentrated on the lyrics, with praise for Brett Anderson’s daring in penning a debut single that was charged with homoeroticism, with the protagonist singing of being kissed in rooms while popular tunes play in the background (maybe listening to a specially compiled mixtape?) while simultaneously enjoying having his spine caressed, manfully resisting, initially, to what is being asked for – ‘stop taking me over’ but by the end accepting the inevitable and enjoying it – ‘you’re taking me over’ which is repeated endlessly as the song fades out.

I’ve long been someone who places a high level of importance and/or significance of lyrics in terms of them being able to transform a good song into a great song, but back in 1994 I didn’t pay much attention to what Brett was singing. For me, it was all about the tune which sparked off all sorts of long-locked memories of growing up in the early-mid 70s listening to fast-paced and catchy glam-rock tunes dominate the singles charts. It took the best of the music from that era but sprinkled it with indie-knowing that harked back to the mid-80s and added a little bit of special flavouring with a nod to the slightly heavier sound of such as The Pixies.

Suede turned out to be one of the bands lassoed into the Britpop genre. Britpop itself is largely defined by the anthemic nature of the songs from the era. And while there can be no denying that The Drowners is an incredibly anthemic number, anyone suggesting it is classic Britpop ought to be taken outside, stripped naked, tarred and feathered and tied to a chair while forcefully made to listen to Cast. They will soon realise there’s a big difference.

mp3 : Suede – The Drowners

The thing is, this debut single came with two remarkable b-sides, containing songs that almost none of the other newly emerging band of the era would ever be capable of writing and recording.

mp3 : Suede – To The Birds
mp3 : Suede – My Insatiable One

I made reference in a previous posting, in March 2016, to the quality of the first five Suede singles at which my dear friend Jacques left behind a comment that I can only echo, richly:-

“As a whole, The Drowners is one of my favourite singles ever.”

Anyone care to interpret the NME and its reference to it turning indie an androgynous shade of jaundiced yellow?

JC

A FOOTNOTE IN SCOTTISH MUSICAL HISTORY

As part of the on-line build-up to last Simply Thrilled night, members of the Facebook group were asked to reminisce on the first Scottish act they had seen live. There’s a fair range of ages among the group and the replies were fascinating, not least that provided by Basil Pieroni, the guitarist with Butcher Boy who said:-

I don’t remember them but I must have been the Cuban Heels supporting the Stranglers at the Apollo in 1978. The reason for this occurred to me was that, walking home from town yesterday, we passed the Academy. The marquee said The Cuban Heels and that rang a bell. A quick google later and we paid in. They were playing in the bar not the main theatre….

The years have been fairly kind to them. The bass player in particular looked magnificent – full quiff, skinny, dressed in black, great face. The music was of its time – kind of proto Simple Minds (according to wiki one of them was in Johnny & The Self Abusers with Jim Kerr). Anyway, was a good diversion.

I know I must have seen them at the Apollo, because I remember queuing, the doors opening and everyone starting to run up the stairs as soon as your ticket was checked. I said to my pal – why are we running? – and he said – I don’t know.

I laughed out loud as I’d forgotten that running up the stairs and into the stalls was part of the ritual in going to the Apollo. Forget the fact that you had a specified seat on your ticket as these tended to be completely ignored by those attending the gig and by the notorious bouncers, especially at the post-punk/new wave gigs where it was just mayhem from the word go,

Basil was right in that John Milarky, the singer with Johnny & The Self Abusers, would quickly team up with Paul Armour (bass), Davie Duncan (guitar) and Laurie Cuff (guitar) who had already formed a trio called The Cuban Heels and, through a friendship with an Edinburgh entrepreneur who wanted to set up a record label, they recorded and released, on Housewives’ Choice, this before 1978 was out:-

mp3 : The Cuban Heels – Downtown

Yup, it’s a cover of the song made famous by Petula Clark. And it proved to the only 45 the label would issue!

The b-side was a Laurie Cuff number:-

mp3 : The Cuban Heels – Do The Smok Walk

I do remember The Cuban Heels getting a fair bit of local media coverage back in the day and I have memories also of them getting at a couple of sessions for the John Peel show on Radio 1. It therefore seems strange that it took two years to release a follow-up single:-

mp3 : The Cuban Heels – Walk On Water

The single was the first to be issued by a new local label, Cuba Libre, which had been set up by Ali Mackenzie (ex The Subs) and who also began drumming for The Cuban Heels. Paul Armour had also left and had been replaced on bass by Nick Clark (I’m wondering he’s the same bloke who so impressed Basil a while back).

I think it’s fair to say that this new 45 was heavily influenced by Talking Heads, albeit the pace was just a bit more frantic and less posing was involved.

Some A&R folk were liking what they were hearing and next thing was that Cuba Libre did a deal with Virgin Records for joint releases on the next material by the band, which turned out to be two singles and an album in 1981 in which production duties were shared by John Leckie and Steve Hillage. The band must have toured in support of these releases, including Glasgow gigs, and while it is possible that I would have been present at one or more of such events, like Basil, I don’t remember them.

It’s interesting that, after all these years, the band has come back together again and playing gigs in the Glasgow area but it is hard to see what sort of audience they will be attracting beyond the die-hard fans who will now be approaching pensionable age.

JC