A GUEST SERIES
41. Dry the Rain – The Beta Band (1997 Regal Records)
Released in July 1997 as 12” only release, and limited to 1000 copies.
Some songs I can remember exactly where I was when I first heard a song. For example ‘Bitter Sweet Symphony’ I first heard in the Waterloo Station branch of Our Price. I know this because on the counter there was a sign telling me so (I was buying a Shamen single at the time).
I first heard ‘Sex on Fire’ driving down the A303 on the way back to Devon from Heathrow airport – I know this because the car in front caught fire about three minutes later and my wife and I joked all the way home about what might have been going on inside that car – after we made sure that the couple inside were ok of course.
I first heard ‘Dry the Rain’ sat in a police station in the City of London. Which, depending on your viewpoint sounds either cool, dodgy, edgy or a mixture of all three. The reason is not so exciting to be honest.
I was sat in a police station in the City of London waiting to make a statement after witnessing a minor car crash on Cheapside. A white Audi had mounted the kerb to avoid a van and had narrowly avoided a pedestrian and then driven straight into a post office van. There’s a lot of car action today, sorry.
The small office that I sat outside had Radio One playing – it was the Jo Whiley show, obviously, and I remember being really annoying with the officer when he came to get me before Jo had told me what song it was and who it was by.
But I remembered it.
A couple of hours later, back home I made a phone call – I phoned a record shop that I knew and I literally sang the song down the phone to them and said ‘what is it?’.
As I warbled “If there’s something inside that you want to say…” badly, the guy on the end of the phone in between his laughter, somehow knew what the record was!
I mean I could have just listened to Jo Whiley’s show the next day because unbeknownst to me she had made it Record of the Week and played it every day regardless. Regardless I placed my order on the spot.
A week or so later my 12” version of ‘Champion Versions’ dropped through the letterbox. Twenty years or so later, whilst going through another pointless space saving exercise, I sold it to an American in Illinois for £105. He sent me a personal email telling me how delighted he was to finally own it. Which was nice. ‘Dry The Rain’ is that kind of track.
‘Dry The Rain’ has this terrifically lopsided brilliance to it, and I loved the way the chorus becomes a kind of mantra about positivity, something which you get a lot of with the earlier Beta Band tracks. The rest of the ‘Champion Versions’ is also pretty brilliant and contains