BREAKING IT ALL DOWN : PUMP UP THE VOLUME

I did state, when pulling together the first installment of this series back a couple of months, that it was likely to be, at best, an occasional thing as the final pieces will always require a fair bit of digging and research and there will be extended periods of time when I can’t be bothered with that.

Pump Up the Volume was a huge hit back in 1987 and is seen as the biggest milestone in the way that snatches of music were sampled to create something fresh and new.

mp3: M|A|R|R|S – Pump Up The Volume

Wiki has a page devoted to Pump Up The Volume in which a table is laid out with info on all the samples that were used on the various different versions of the song.  There are 21 samples identified for the UK radio edit.

Sample 1: Unity – Afrikka Bambaataa and James Brown

The sampled portion is the repeated vocal ‘Ah….’.

Unity dates from 1984 and was the first recording in which James Brown collaborated with anyone who was primarily associated with rap or hip-hop. Despite the impressive pedigree, the single was a flop.

Sample 2: Holy Ghost – The Bar-Kays

The sampled portion is Drums, with moog (at the “put the needle…” part)

Holy Ghost is the opening track on Money Talks, an album released in 1978 but recorded between 1972 and 1975.

Sample 3: Super-Bad (part one) – James Brown

The sampled portion is the vocal “Watch me”

Super Bad is one of James Brown‘s best-known songs, going to  #1 on the R&B chart and number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970.

Sample 4: Funkin’ For Jamaica (N.Y.) – Tom Browne

The sampled portion is the trumpet

A top ten hit for the jazz trumpeter here in the UK in 1980 and while it made the dance and R&B charts back home in the USA, it didn’t break into the Billboard Top 100. Was also the first track on side one of Dancin’ Master, the first of what would be many NME mail-order cassettes following the success of C81, released in October 1981.

Sample 5: Put The Needle To The Record – Criminal Element Orchestra

The sampled portion is the vocal “Put the needle on the record when the drum beats go like this”

A hip-hop single from 1987 which itself sampled from many others.  Criminal Element Orchestra is one of the names adopted over the years by legendary NYC-based producer, Arthur Baker.

Sample 6: I Know You Got Soul (a capella version) – Eric B and Rakim

The sampled portion is the vocal “Pump up the volume, dance”

I Know You Got Soul was the third single to be released from the 1987 album Paid in Full, one of the legendary albums in the history of hip-hop.

Sample 7: Change le Beat – Fab 5 Freddy featuring Beside

The sampled portion is the Beep effect and distorted vocal sample, “Ah”

Fred Brathwaite, aka Fab 5 Freddy, is a hip hop pioneer immortalised in 1981 with the mention by Debbie Harry on the hit single Rapture.

Change the Beat is a single dating from 1982 with its B-side lead vocals performed by rapper Beside and rapped entirely in French, making it one of the first multilingual hip-hop releases.

Sample 8: Mean Machine – D.ST and Jalal Mansur Nuriddin

The sampled portion is the chanting -“Automatic, push-button, remote control; synthetic, genetics, command your soul.”

D.ST was the early stage name of GrandMixer DXT, one of the first to use turntables as a musical instrument in the 1980s. The late Jalaluddin Mansur Nuriddin (July 24, 1944 – June 4, 2018) was one of the founding members of The Last Poets, a group of poets and musicians that evolved in the 1960s out of the Harlem Writers Workshop in New York City. Mean Machine was a single from 1984 and was an update of a track originally recorded by The Last Poets in 1971.

Sample 9: The Jam – Graham Central Station

The sampled portion is the Drums and repeated vocal, “Hu, ha”.

Graham Central Station was an American funk band named after founder Larry Graham (formerly of Sly & the Family Stone). The Jam is the opening track on Ain’t No ‘Bout-A-Doubt, the band’s third album, released in 1975.

Sample 10: It’s Just Begun – Jimmy Castor Bunch

The sampled portion is the vocal “It’s just begun”.

James Walter Castor (January 23, 1940 – January 16, 2012) was a funk, R&B, and soul multi-instrumentalist. It’s Just Begun is the title track of his band’s album from 1972 and is a piece of music, whether the vocal or sax, that has been much sampled.

Sample 11: Jungle Jazz – Kool & The Gang

The sampled portion is the drumbeat

Kool & The Gang first really got noticed in the UK in the late 70s/early 80s through a succession of hit disco/pop singles. But they had been around since 1964, recording and releasing a large number of pioneering soul and funk records. The instrumental Jungle Jazz can be found on the 1975 album Spirit of The Boogie and itself is linked to Jungle Boogie, released two years previously and which later became well-known from its inclusion on the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction.

Sample 12: Positive Life – Lovebug Starski and The Harlem World Crew

The sampled portion is the vocal “That’s right, dude, this gotta be the greatest record of the year/Check it out”

Lovebug Starkski (May 16, 1960 – February 8, 2018) was a DJ, MC, musician, and record producer who was part of the emerging hip-scene in The Bronx at the outset. Positive Life is a single dating from 1981.

Sample 13: Im Nin’Alu – Ofra Haza

The sampled portion is the vocal.

Im Nin’alu is a Hebrew poem by 17th-century Rabbi Shalom Shabazi that has been placed to music and sung by many, including Israeli singer Ofra Haza. Her first televised performance was in 1978 but the version sampled is from the 1984 album Yemenite Songs. The vocal/tune was later sampled by Eric B. & Rakim on Paid In Full and, of course, M|A|R|R|S on “Pump Up the Volume” which led to Haza releasing a dance remix of her own recording in 1988 that went to #1 in Finland, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and West Germany, while in the UK it peaked at #15.

Sample 14: Pump That Bass – Original Concept

The sampled portion is the vocal “Pump That Bass”.

Another NYC-based act, Original Concept hailed from Long Island, and were one of the earliest signings for Def Jam Records. Pump That Bass was released as the b-side to a single in 1986 and then later on their sole LP, Straight From the Basement of Kooley High, which came out in 1988.

Sample 15: Celebrate the Good Things – Pleasure

The sampled portion is the horn.

A soul/funk/jazz group from Portland in Oregon, Pleasure released a number of singles and albums in the last 70s and early 80s without ever making a commercial breakthrough. Celebrate The Good Things is the opening track, Get To The Feeling.

Sample 16: You’re Gonna Get Yours – Public Enemy

The sampled portion is the vocal “You’re Gonna Get Yours”.

Arguably, the best-known of the samples, it came from a single released just a few months earlier, albeit it pre-dated the commercial breakthrough of Public Enemy.

Sample 17: I Don’t Know What This World Is Coming To – The Soul Children

The sampled portion is the vocal “Brothers and Sisters”.

The Soul Children recorded soul music for Stax Records in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The sample is actually from the MC’s introduction to their performance at Wattstax, a concert to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the 1965 riots in the African-American community of Watts, Los Angeles that took place at the LA Coliseum on August 20, 1972. The MC was the Rev Jesse Jackson.

Sample 18: Pump Me Up – Trouble Funk

The sampled portion is the vocal “Pump Me Up”.

Trouble Funk are from Washington, D.C. and released six albums in the 80s before disbanding (since when they reformed in the late 90s). Pump Me Up is from the 1982 album Drop The Bomb, and has become one of the most-sampled bits of vocal over the years.

Sample 19: Introduction to the J.B.’s – Fred Wesley and The J.B’s
Sample 20: More Peas – Fred Wesley and The J.B.’s

The sampled portions are the vocals “Without No Doubt” and “Yeah Yeah”

Fred Wesley is an American trombonist who worked with James Brown in the 1960s and 1970s. The J.B.’s was the name of James Brown’s band from 1970 through the early 1980s. In addition to backing Brown on stage and on record during this era, the J.B.’s also recorded albums and singles on their own, and these two tracks can be found on the 1973 album, Doing It To Death. The former is another which involves a sample from the MC who is doing the introduction…..

Sample 21: Abu Zeluf – Dunya Yunis

The sampled portion is the vocal

This particular piece of music was sampled back in 1980 by Brian Eno and David Byrne on the track Regiment, which can be found on the album My Life In The Bush of Ghosts. The original recording is from “The Human Voice in the World of Islam” which was released in 1976. Not much is known about the singer – she is described only as a “Lebanese mountain singer” in the Eno/Byrne release. It appears, from what I can gather from browsing various corners of the internet, that Ms Yunis had been recorded by Poul Rovsing Olsen (November 4, 1922 – July 2, 1982) a Danish composer and ethnomusicologist at some point during his career and she has never been compensated from the Byrne/Eno work or indeed from the M|A|R|R|S sample.

This post took about three times as long to finish in comparison to an ICA in that there was a ridiculous amount of research involved and with 21 different bits of music to explore, there proved to be a lot of threads to it, almost all of which were new to me.  I feel it’s been the equivalent of climbing Everest as far as this series goes, and as such, I’m retiring it forthwith!

JC

THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF R.E.M. (Part 12)

If ‘Document’ saw R.E.M. move wholeheartedly into the political rock arena, then its successor ‘Green’ cranked it up another gear. Released during the 1988 US Presidential election campaign, the band wore their colours on their sleeves, endorsing the Democrats while heavily criticising the Republican candidate George Bush. Among its main themes was environmentalism, the album title being the giveaway. Musically, the band regard it as experimental following Michael Stipe’s request that they “didn’t write any more R.E.M.-type songs.”

In the UK, it was released with no singles preceding it. I bought it on the day of release (7 November 1988), the first time I’d done that for an R.E.M. record. It wasn’t until late January 1989 that, Stand was issued as the first UK single from ‘Green’. I suppose it was the obvious choice, but it seems to confirm my previous observations in this series about the choice of singles the band (or label) made to promote their albums. This was the first R.E.M. record on a major label, yet the same theme remained. Peter Buck described Stand as “without a doubt the stupidest song we’ve ever written.” Stipe added that his lyrics were deliberately inane to match the “super bubblegummy songs” the band offered up following a discussion about 60s pop groups like the Banana Splits and the Archies.

mp3: R.E.M. – Stand

Does Stand represent ‘Green’? Absolutely not. Does it sound like an R.E.M. single? Totally. In fact, Warners thought it was worthy of releasing twice! First time around, the 7” was backed by a short instrumental called Memphis Train Blues, essentially a mandolin-led blues song. A typically throwaway, non-essential piece.

mp3: R.E.M. – Memphis Train Blues

The 12” added an instrumental version of the album’s closing track. Unlisted on the album sleeve and label, the track was officially known as 11 for copyright purposes. On it, the band switched instruments with Buck on drums, Berry on bass and Mills on guitar. The b-side version was given the title (The Eleventh Untitled Song), was 45 seconds longer and omitted the vocal.

mp3: R.E.M. – (The Eleventh Untitled Song)

This original release stalled at #51, something of a dud when you consider the band’s increasing renown and ever-growing fan-base, coupled with the overtly radio-friendly nature of the song. So it’s perhaps no surprise that, given the next single became R.E.M.’s first UK top 30 hit, Stand was given a second crack at the whip later in the year, with new cover art to boot.

This time, the b-sides were a little more interesting. An acoustic version of ‘Green’’s opener Pop Song 89 graced the 7” format, while a live cover of the Ohio PlayersSkin Tight was added to the 12”.

mp3: R.E.M. – Pop Song 89 (acoustic version)
mp3: R.E.M. – Skin Tight (live)

The re-release coincided with the European leg of the Green Tour, the band’s biggest, most expansive jaunt to date. I had, just a month earlier, seen them for the first time at Wembley Arena in London. Unfortunately, none of this was enough to propel the single to dizzy heights, this time stalling at an only slightly better #48.

Stand was a better track than Cant Get There From Here, no doubt about it, but it still doesn’t rate among the band’s finest songs. It doesn’t rate among the finest songs on ‘Green’, in my opinion (they would be World Leader Pretend, Turn You Inside-Out and You Are The Everything). It did not give the band the super-sized global hit the record company had no doubt been hoping for, but mega-stardom was a lot closer than many people thought…

The Robster

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #226 : ONE DOVE

Pinched from elsewhere on t’internet:-

One Dove were a Scottish electronic music group active in the early 1990s, consisting of Dot Allison, Ian Carmichael and Jim McKinven.

Originally called Dove, the group released its debut single, “Fallen”, on the Glasgow-based label Soma in October 1991. It was a significant club hit and brought them a deal with the Junior Boy’s Own label. Changing their name to avoid confusion with a similarly named group, in 1992 JBO issued a new recording of “Fallen”, produced by Andrew Weatherall, which brought the group to greater attention from the British music press. The single was withdrawn one week after release however, due to an unlicensed sampling of a harmonica from a Supertramp song. Further critical acclaim followed with the release of the 12″ single “Transient Truth”.

At this stage, One Dove were still primarily a club-oriented group, but for the single “White Love”, an attempt was made to make their music more radio-friendly by including a commercial remix by Stephen Hague. With this increasingly commercial sound, the band became a favourite with publications such as Select and Q, and were often favourably compared with Saint Etienne, another female-fronted group who were having success with pop-dance crossover recordings.

In 1993, One Dove released their only album, Morning Dove White, which included the Weatherall version of “Fallen” (minus the Supertramp sample) together with 12″ mixes of “Transient Truth” and “White Love”. The album was originally set for release in 1992 but was delayed for a full year through disputes between the band and their new record company – London Records had taken over the Boy’s Own label. The band were unhappy about the commercialisation of their sound, and the disputes were only resolved when the band agreed to release singles mixed by Stephen Hague, if they could work with him in the studio during the remix sessions.

The album was preceded by the single “Breakdown”, with remixes by Stephen Hague, William Orbit and Secret Knowledge and a further track from the album, “Why Don’t You Take Me,” was subsequently released as a single for the Christmas market. For the B-sides of the “Why Don’t You Take Me” single (which included a reworking of Dolly Parton’s song “Jolene”), the group expanded to a five-piece with the addition of Ed Higgins on percussion and Colin McIlroy on guitar, and showcased a more heavily dub-influenced sound. This line-up later went into the studio to begin work on a second album, but frustrated by record industry politics, split up midway through the sessions.

The first time I heard them was in 1993.  I’d missed the whole initial fuss and the link-up with Weatherall and so it was the radio mix of White Love that pulled me on board:-

mp3: One Dove – White Love

I still can’t get my head around the fact that something as smooth and classy as this was the work of a bunch of Glaswegians, including one who had enjoyed a fair stint in Altered Images at the height of their commercial success.

JC

SOME WORDS ON MICRODISNEY

Microdisney was an Irish band that was founded in Cork in 1980, with its two mainstays being Cathal Coughlan (keyboards, vocals) and Sean O’Hagan (guitar). The band broke up in 1988 with Coughlan going on to form the Fatima Mansions while O’Hagan fronted the High Llamas.

After some 30 years, they got back together and then broke-up again following live shows in London in the summer of 2018 before Dublin and Cork in February 2019.  An extensive interview, given subsequently by Cathal Coughlan to an Irish newspaper, provides all the explanation you need. Here’s an edited version of it:-

Where there is an end, there might also be a cautious beginning. Cathal Coughlan, the Cork man perhaps best known for being the vocalist and lyricist of Microdisney, is wrapping up the group, setting alight to the package and scattering the ashes on to waters that will transport them to the afterlife.

“There are a number of things that persistently matter to me,” says Coughlan of his next creative step, “and one is the art song. Whether it’s German theatre, Sinatra, Tin Pan Alley, Northern Soul or discordant, pernickety song composition from the late 20th century, those are the things I care about. A lot of what I’m doing is in that range. The challenge is: how do you do something noir that doesn’t allude? I don’t want to allude if I can help it.”

Now in his late 50s, with robust features, Coughlan has much more a measure of himself than he once had. He is the exact opposite of Joni Mitchell’s pronouncement as a songwriter to comfort more than disturb. He speaks slowly, cautiously. He has the manner of someone who has come through conflict intact yet is very much in charge because of it, and he has a knack for closing circles with precision.

He did the same with his post-Microdisney groups, Fatima Mansions and Bubonique, but this time last year he had to re-open the box that his first band had been sealed in for over 30 years. The reason was Microdisney being, in 2018, the first recipient of the IMRO/NCH Trailblazer Award, which celebrates culturally important albums (in this case, 1985’s The Clock Comes Down the Stairs) by iconic Irish musicians, songwriters and composers.

“I felt very humbled,” he says of the award being bestowed. In acceptance, he includes the other band members, particularly fellow Cork colleague Sean O’Hagan. “Obviously, Sean and I are more rooted in Ireland, and so it possibly meant something different, but everyone was blown away by it.”

It shows how Ireland has changed, says Coughlan, who recalls that in the mid-1980s, the band could never have afforded to self-finance a journey from London to Dublin. “It would be unwise not to accept that there was a generational aspect to it, but it meant a hell of a lot to be given such an award by a major cultural institution.”

Was there a sense that Microdisney had either been completely forgotten about or were little more than a fond memory for a certain demographic of music fan? “The dust had settled for us,” says Coughlan with an unsentimental air of finality. “Any emotional stuff that we had from the ’80s had long ago drifted off into the ether; we knew we could play the material, and I knew that I could relate to a lot of the emotional aspects of it.”

If the Microdisney shows last June (two at the National Concert Hall, one of which was invite-only, one at London’s Barbican) proved anything, it was that their songs have stood the often perilous test of time.

Regarding talk of further Microdisney shows, Coughlan says: “There was an ellipsis more than a discussion. Other than we had all enjoyed it and that the shows exceeded our expectations – which were high enough to begin with – we all had other stuff going on, so it got a bit quiet.”

Cue a promoter’s offer, however, to play gigs in Dublin and Cork. “We just decided to do it, yet not the same as last year. The two shows, however, is really the extent of it.”

Why such a definitive end?

“Because in the context of being a songwriting and recording outfit, Microdisney ran its course. Yes, people appreciated it, and it made a big difference to my life, but let’s just leave it, for the most part.” He says the band can be revived, and that fun would certainly be had, “but that’s about the size of it”.

So there you are…..a band that was well-loved in their native land doing the decent thing by playing a very small number of shows in acknowledgment of a major award then calling it a day before their legacy runs the risk of being tarnished. A number of their peers should take heed…

Here’s a 12″ single, complete with two b-sides, from the 1985 album, put out on Rough Trade Records, that received that IMRO/NCH Trailblazer Award:-

mp3: Microdisney – Birthday Girl
mp3: Microdisney – Harmony Time
mp3: Microdisney – Money For The Trams

The a-side is very poppy and radio-friendly….a sort of cross between Prefab Sprout and Deacon Blue.

Selected today as it is Mrs Villain’s actual birthday…..

JC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #260 : GREEN GARTSIDE

A DEBUT GUEST POSTING by KHAYEM

Inspired by JC’s recent post, my first attempt at an ICA is Scritti Politti, or more specifically, the wonder that is Green Gartside. Like most, it’s been a challenge to pick just ten songs but I’ve tried to avoid straightforward ‘greatest hits’ and instead capture the breadth and consistency of Green’s output over several decades. Ironically, my first exposure to Scritti Politti wasn’t the music, but the lyrics to The ‘Sweetest Girl, printed in Smash Hits. The words alone and the accompanying striking image of Green & co. was enough for me to check out their records and I’ve been along for the ride ever since.

I think Green is one of the finest songwriters and singers and, whether DIY indie, anarcho-political, ‘perfect pop’, reggae, dancehall, electronica-acoustic or future folk, the trinity of words, music and voice is hard to beat.

SIDE ONE

1) Boom! There She Was (Sonic Property Mix ft. Roger) (UK 12” single, 1988)

Perfect pop sounds to begin. I got this 12” single before the accompanying album Provision and it’s remained the definitive version for me. There is a US edit of this song which, at 9 minutes, slightly outstays its welcome but the album and single versions feel too short. This is just the right balance of mid-80s sounds, enhanced by remix titans Steve Thompson and Michael Barbiero and guest vox from talkbox champion Roger Troutman. Also, the second Scritti pop song (that I’m aware of) to reference philosopher and author Jacques Derrida.

2) A Little Knowledge (Cupid & Psyche 85, 1985)

This duet with B.J. Nelson is one of the highlights of the album and one of my favourite Scritti songs, full stop. It’s a perfect meld of sound and feeling, brimming with great lines including this one:

Got a little radio
Held to my body
I can feel your back beat boy
Moving a muscle of love

3) Petrococadollar (White Bread Black Beer, 2006)

Green often creates an unsettling mix of honeyed vocals and unsettling aural backdrops and this is a great example. It’s almost as if the music is coming through the walls from the neighbour next door whilst he’s riffing lyrics over the top. Comforting and creepy at the same time.

4) Take Me In Your Arms And Love Me (Nice Up The Area Mix ft. Sweetie Irie) (CD single, 1991)

Scritti Politti entered the 1990s with a trio of cover version singles, one with B.E.F. (see the ‘Bonus EP’ below) and two with on-the-money reggae guest vocalists. I prefer this cover of the Gladys Knight & The Pips song to The BeatlesShe’s A Woman. The latter was a bigger hit, but this is a better song and Sweetie Irie tops Shabba Ranks, no question. Of the multiple mixes on the 12” & CD this one by Green and Heaven 17/B.E.F.’s Ian Craig Marsh is the stripped-down superior.

5) Flesh & Blood (Version ft. Ranking Ann) (The Word Girl EP/Cupid & Psyche 85 bonus 12”, 1985)

Though 1999’s Anomie & Bonhomie was seen by many as a controversial departure, with Green frequently ‘guest vocalist’ on his own songs to rap artists, the seeds had been planted a decade and a half before. Limited copies of Cupid & Psyche 85 came with a bonus 4-track 12” of ‘Versions’ and this alternative take on reggae pop of The Word Girl is dominated by Ranking Ann, with an occasional snippet of Green in the background. This version also appeared on the single’s B-side, which remains Scritti Politti’s biggest UK hit to date, peaking at No. 6.

SIDE TWO

6) Confidence (4 ‘A Sides’ EP, 1979/Early, 2005)

Kicking off Side Two, this doesn’t quite go right back to the beginning but appeared on the aptly 4 ‘A Sides’ EP from 1979. I heard this for the first time on the Early compilation. As the EP title suggests, this is a shift towards pop, though as ever Green has an individual lyrical take on the relationship song:

Competence inherent in what a man must do
Facts I admit only in confidence to you
But you haven’t got the heart to tell me…

7) Tinseltown To The Boogiedown (Album Version ft. Mos Def & Lee Majors) (Anomie & Bonhomie, 1999)

I first heard and saw the video on The Chart Show and missed the opening few seconds and title, so I didn’t realise it was Scritti Politti until Green’s unmistakeable vocals appeared on the chorus. I loved this song and the Anomie & Bonhomie album and, for me, it seemed a natural evolution. The Black Keys did pretty much the same thing ten years later, with their Blackroc album, but Green was there first and this is better. And Mos Def is most definitely the rap chief.

8) Wishing Well (Tangled Man EP, 2020)

The release earlier this year of a two-song solo single of Anne Briggs cover versions was a welcome surprise. I belatedly picked up on an earlier Green Gartside cover version on a Nick Drake tribute album (Fruit Tree, on 2013’s Way To Blue) which kind of points the way to these songs. This song would also sit comfortably with the White Bread Black Beer album, and is further evidence of Green’s consummate skill as an interpreter of other people’s songs. And his voice grows ever richer with time.

9) Gettin’, Havin’ And Holdin’ (Songs To Remember, 1982)

With lyrical nods to Percy Sledge (“When a man loves a woman”) and Ludwig Wittgenstein (“It’s true like The Tractatus”), this also has the dubious distinction of allegedly inspiring Wet Wet Wet’s name. Why this song hasn’t been covered innumerable times is a mystery to me but it remains an all-time favourite and has been an essential inclusion on every Scritti Politti or ‘skewed love songs’ mix tape that I’ve done for friends over the years.

10) Forgiven (Live Acoustic Version) (Charles Hazlewood, BBC Radio 2, May 2007)

This was one of two new songs that Green premiered on the Charles Hazlewood show in 2007, both with working titles (the other being Unfrozen). Forgiven has synth-based bird tweets, broken acoustic chords and lyrical references to a shady character going to “settle scores with a man with a Nike holdall”.

The entire segment, including a short but fascinating interview with Green, is still available on the excellent Bibbly-O-Tek website (http://bibbly-o-tek.com/2007/05/17/green-gartside-in-the-charles-hazlewood-show/). I was fortunate to see Green Gartside a couple of weeks later as part of the Venn Festival in Bristol. Although billed as a solo gig, it was the full Scritti Politti touring band: Rodhri Marsden, Alyssa McDonald & Dave Ferrett. Although a relatively short set of 9 songs, 5 (including Forgiven) were brand new songs at the time and one song (Robert E. Lee) had been finished in the dressing room before coming on stage. As far as I’m aware, Forgiven has not been re-recorded or released since, but this version could appear on an album as it is and, in my opinion, is a perfect closer to this ICA.

BONUS EP “TOUCHED BY THE VOICE OF GREEN GARTSIDE”

A sampler of songs that Green has lent his voice to and which are all the better for it.

a) I Don’t Know Why I Love You (But I Love You) (Album Version) (B.E.F., Music Of Quality And Distinction Volume 2, 1991)
b) Come And Behold (Green Gartside Revoice) (King Midas Sound, Without You, 2011)
c) When It’s Over (7” Version) (Adele Bertei, UK 7” single, 1985)
d) Between The Clock And The Bed (Manic Street Preachers, Futurology, 2014)

The Adele Bertei song was also co-written and produced by David Gamson and Fred Maher and sounds entirely like a Scritti Politti backing track/outtake from the Cupid & Psyche 85 sessions.

KHAYEM

SOME SONGS ARE GREAT SHORT STORIES (Chapter 38)

Here we go again, it’s Monday at last
He’s heading for the Waterloo line
To catch the 8 a.m. fast, it’s usually dead on time
Hope it isn’t late, got to be there by nine

Pinstripe suit, clean shirt and tie
Stops off at the corner shop, to buy The Times
‘Good Morning Smithers-Jones’
‘How’s the wife and home?’
‘Did you get the car you’ve been looking for?’
‘Did you get the car you’ve been looking for?’

Let me get inside you, let me take control of you
We could have some good times
All this worry will get you down
I’ll give you a new meaning to life, I don’t think so

Sitting on the train, you’re nearly there
You’re a part of the production line
You’re the same as him, you’re like tin-sardines
Get out of the pack, before they peel you back

Arrive at the office, spot on time
The clock on the wall hasn’t yet struck nine
‘Good Morning Smithers-Jones’
‘The boss wants to see you alone’
‘I hope it’s the promotion you’ve been looking for’
‘I hope it’s the promotion you’ve been looking for’

‘Come in Smithers, old boy’
‘Take a seat, take the weight off your feet’
‘I’ve some news to tell you’
‘There’s no longer a position for you’
‘Sorry Smithers-Jones’

Put on the kettle and make some tea
It’s all a part of feeling groovy
Put on your slippers turn on the TV
It’s all a part of feeling groovy
It’s time to relax, now you’ve worked your arse off
But the only one smilin’ is the sun-tanned boss
Work and work you wanna work ’till you die
There’s plenty more fish in the sea to fry

mp3: The Jam – Smithers-Jones (single version)
mp3: The Jam – Smithers-Jones (album version)

Written by Bruce Foxton.  Originally released as the b-side to When You’re Young in August 1979.  Completely re-recorded for the album Setting Sons which was released three months later.

JC

 

ADDITIONAL VOLUME, CONTRAST AND BRILLIANCE

One of the most popular postings round these parts was last October when I offered up some thoughts on twelve singles released by The Monochrome Set between 1979 and 1985.

I mentioned that the version of The Jest Set Junta released in 1983 as a 45 was different from that which could be found on the album Eligible Bachelors, with it instead being a radio session version dating from December 1981. It was put out as a single to accompany Volume, Contrast, Brilliance….. a Cherry Red compilation of radio sessions and hard-to-find B-sides from earlier singles dating back to the era when the band was signed to Rough Trade.

I tracked down a decent copy of the single a few weeks back for the simple reason that the two b-sides, from a John Peel Session that dated back to February 1979 hadn’t been included on Volume, Contrast, Brilliance…

mp3: The Monochrome Set – Love Goes Down The Drain (Peel Session)
mp3: The Monochrome Set – Noise (Eine Kleine Symphonie) (Peel Session)

It was the latter of the two that I was really keen to get my hands on as it is an earlier take on Eine Symphonie des Grauens, which I’ve long regarded as my favourite of all songs by The Monochrome Set. It turns out that the Peel Session is shorter (by almost 30 seconds) and is a slower-paced version than the eventual studio recording – it also ends with one of those tricks whereby the needle slips into a repetitive groove which prevents the song coming to a natural conclusion – it took me a while to realise what was actually happening and I’ve kept the recording intact so that you too can enjoy the manic, almost mocking, laughter conclusion.

JC

A HAPPY SOUNDING SONG, BUT TINGED WITH TRAGEDY

Heavenly emerged, in 1989, from the rubble of the disintegration of Talulah Gosh, a band that has very much come to represent all that folk love/loath about the genre referred to as twee-pop. To begin with, there wasn’t much to distinguish between Heavenly and Talulah Gosh, which is no great surprise given that four of the musicians were common to both line-ups and there was less than a year between the last single from one band and the first single from the other.

There was a gradual, if slight, shift in the music made by Heavenly during the first half of the 90s. The tunes remained very upbeat and perfect for much airing at the indie-disco, but the subject matters were less innocent or far from flimsy. The band members were aging gracefully and their growing confidence, both on stage and inside the recording studio, looked like putting them on the ladder to a wider commercial success, especially as the UK music press was in the middle of its Britpop frenzy period and were talking up all sorts of bands, many of whose collective charms and talents were minuscule in comparison. The fourth studio album was in the can and there were a number of songs that had ‘likely hit’ stamped all over them.

Tragically, the group’s drummer Matthew Fletcher took his own life in June 1996 shortly after the recording of the album was complete. It was devastating for all concerned, none more so than his sister, Amelia, the lead vocalist and in the eyes of many, the main focus of the band. The album, Operation: Heavenly, was released in October 1996. It was an absolute classic of its kind, cutting the ties almost entirely with twee and packed with tunes that were tailor-made for the daytime radio of the times. Understandably, the band members didn’t/couldn’t do much to promote it and it faded away into obscurity, other than having one 45 issued to help things along:-

mp3: Heavenly – Space Manatee

It took a while to get over the loss but the remaining came back together some 18 months later as Marine Research, by which time the Britpop era was over and very few executives were interested in four-piece bands who relied on catchy pop tunes.

I’ve long had a copy of the final album on CD but I recently picked up a copy of that final single and was delighted to discover that its two b-sides were both cover versions:-

mp3: Heavenly – You Tore Me Down
mp3: Heavenly – Art School

The former was originally by The Flamin’ Groovies and is from their 1976 album, Shake Some Action. The latter is a homage to The Jam with a fairly faithful musical interpretation, short and sharp at under two minutes, of a track from In The City (1977).

JC

THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF R.E.M. (Part 11)

As it turned out, a little bit of miscommunication resulted in both myself and The Robster thinking we had responsibility for pulling together a piece on the eleventh single to be released in the UK.  Rather than have anything go to waste, we felt it would be worthwhile giving you two for the price of one.

The Robster

The One I Love may have been the first R.E.M. song I heard, but it would only have been on the radio in the background so I wouldn’t have taken much notice of it. It was another track that was the first that I heard properly. In March 2014, I wrote about the revelatory moment when a mate at college lent me a copy of ‘Document’ when I was just 16, thus kickstarting a two-decade obsession with a band who would become responsible for me meeting and marrying the love of my life.

The full article is here [http://isthis-thelife.blogspot.com/2014/03/the-college-years-part-two-document.html] but if you don’t have the time/can’t be bothered, I’ll summarise parts of it here.

Nils Horley was a guy who fed my music obsession, blasting blues and rock at me whenever I visited his bedsit. One Friday afternoon in December, he approached me and asked: “Ever heard any R.E.M.?” “Errr, no,” came the reluctant reply.  I so wanted to say yes and sound cool, but I couldn’t tell a lie. “Listen to this,” he said as he handed me a cassette. “I bought it for my brother for Christmas so can I have it back on Monday?” And thus the seed was sown.

What Nils lent me was a copy of R.E.M.’s fifth album ‘Document’. Before I even played it, I was intrigued, just by the curious artwork alone. At 4pm, I boarded the bus outside the college, slipped the cassette into my Walkman and hit play. POW! There were a number of things that hit me between the eyes immediately. The opening snare hit, the distorted, single-note guitar line backed by the drums, eventually giving way to a voice the likes of which I’d never heard before – its reedy, almost sneering resonance disconcerted me for a bit. It was something I clearly needed time to get used to. It took about 40 minutes.

“The time to rise has been engaged,” Stipe sings as the album’s opening lines. To a 16-year-old raised as a working-class socialist through the god-awful Thatcher years, this was an inspiration; a call-to-arms, a rallying cry. “What we want and what we need has been confused.” Another line that still resonates 33 years later. Those first 20 seconds of ‘Document’ woke me from my teenage slumbers. I already sensed I was listening to something special, even if it did take a little longer to realise just how special R.E.M. were.

The journey home from college that day was like no other. ‘Document’ was my soundtrack not just for the bus ride, but most of that entire evening and throughout the weekend. I don’t think I played anything else. It has since become one of the most important records in my life, if not the most important. It was certainly a game-changer of gigantic proportions.

That opening song which thrust me headlong into the world of R.E.M. was Finest Worksong, and by the time it was released as the third and final single off ‘Document’ in March 1988, I had become North Devon’s biggest R.E.M. fan and had already started seeking out their back catalogue. It also became the first R.E.M. single I bought. There was a 7” released in the UK and Europe which contained the album version, but the global 12” release featured two alternative versions.

The first of these was the first R.E.M track to get the remix treatment for a 12” and as 12” mixes go it’s OK. I’ve heard a lot worse. Both mixes included an added horn section. The ‘Other Mix’ was initially intended as the official single version, but for some reason the album version was preferred for the 7”. It later appeared on the compilation ‘Eponymous’ retitled the ‘Mutual Drum Horn Mix’. To this day I’m undecided exactly what the horns add to the song. They’re not bad or anything, they’re just… there. Whatever – Finest Worksong reached number 50 in the UK charts, the band’s highest placing to date.

The b-side of all formats was the real treat though. Recorded live in Holland during the 1987 Work Tour, Stipe and Buck run through a medley of three songs in the quietest, tenderest, most utterly spellbinding finale to a show you’ll ever hear. Buck gently chimes on his Rickenbacker to two songs from ‘Reckoning’Time After Time and So. Central Rain – hyphenated by a brief interpretation of Peter Gabriel’s Red Rain, while Stipe sings delicately, as if the songs were lullabies, before allowing his voice to soar towards a climax.

It’s 8+ minutes of perfection, and a breathtaking conclusion to the ‘Document’ period. In fact, it was the end of the band’s indie status as less than 8 months after the single’s release, the first R.E.M. album for a major label would appear. A new chapter would begin and nothing would be the same for Athens, GA.’s finest ever again.

JC

You’ll have gathered by now that the release of R.E.M. singles was very much hit and miss, with I.R.S not really sure what to do.

The third and final single lifted from Document almost, on its own, made up for all mishaps over the previous years.  I’ve written previously about this single, with its first appearance being on the old blog as long ago as June 2007, the words of which I was able to find in the archives and re-post in September 2013.  But, if the record label can get away with repeat re-releases, then I’m going to follow its example and re-produce the words which have appeared previously.

“Yesterday (20 June 2007), I picked up second-hand copies of a couple of 12″ singles from the IRS days.

This single was released in April 1988, a full 7 months after the album Document came out, and so it was given a different recording and mix featuring a horns section. A shorter version of this was later put on the compilation LP Eponymous, but to the best of my knowledge, the track in all its glory is only available on the 12″ single. The band left IRS two days after the UK release of Finest Worksong and signed for Warner Brothers.

The b-side to the Worksong single is a live medley taken from a recording made by Vara Radio in Holland of the band’s concert in Utrecht on 14 September 1987. According to the set-list reproduced in the book Adventures In Hi-Fi : The Complete R.E.M. by Rob Jovanovic and Tim Abbott (Orion Publishing 2001), the three-track medley, which comprises Time After Time, Red Rain (a cover of the Peter Gabriel song) and So. Central Rain was the fourth and final encore of the show. Much of it is Michael Stipe singing acapella, with Peter Buck seemingly the only other band member on stage. It’s a very quiet recording, so you may have to crank up your volume for best effect.

The other track on the b-side of the 12″ was this. more or less, the version of Worksong that was later included on Eponymous.”

I said at the outset that the release of this single by I.R.S. almost made up for previous mishaps.  By that I mean we finally saw the band get the remix treatment and while the addition of the horns for the full 12″ version, reaching to just under six minutes, is just a bit much, the other mix does give what was already an outstanding song that little bit more oomph and there are days I sometimes think of it as being superior to the original….and then I come to my senses!!

I am, however, very grateful for the live medley getting to see the light of day. It’s very very lovely.

mp3: R.E.M. – Finest Worksong (Lengthy Club Mix)
mp3: R.E.M. – Finest Work Song (Other Mix)
mp3: R.E.M. – Time After Time etc.

And with that, we have reached the end of the I.R.S. era.  The Robster will be flying solo for the next three weeks to guide you through the initial installments of the major years.

JC

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #225 : ODEON BEATCLUB

Some of you might recall that I gave a couple of previous mentions to Lonely Tourist, including as Part 190 of this ridiculously long-running series.

Lonely Tourist is the name adopted by singer-songwriter Paul Tierney, and for years it has been bugging me where I ought to know him from.  The fact that this series has finally reached the letter ‘O’ provided me with the solution.

From wiki:-

Odeon Beatclub were a Scottish indie band from Glasgow, formed in 1999 by friends Gerry Callaghan (vocals) and Paul Tierney (guitar). Initially the band included Paul’s sister Joanne Tierney (bass) and Des McCabe (drums). The band received support from Steve Lamacq for their self-released single, “Past Gone Mad”. Callaghan left the band in 2000, and vocal duties were taken over by Paul Tierney.

The band continued as a three-piece until Joanne Tierney left in 2001, to be replaced by James Pritchard (guitar), and eventually his girlfriend Sarah Brand (bass). The band’s first label release was I Need More Time through the Glasgow-based independent record label, Play Records.

In 2002, the band won a place at T in the Park after playing the T-break heats. The band was selected for Best Of T-break and the gig was later broadcast by long term supporters Vic Galloway and Gill Mills on their BBC Radio 1 show. One of the judges of the event was a pre-world fame Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol, who subsequently asked the band to support them later in the year.

The band released a number of self-released, mail order only, CD singles from 2002-2003. In 2003 they released “Behind My Eye” through Stow College’s Electric Honey label.

In 2004 they contributed the track “1000 Arguments” to the Glowing Underground EP on Fierce Panda, and played as support to Ballboy, Camera Obscura and Half Man Half Biscuit. The band also released The Midnight Service Station EP on their own Polyester Records.

After a change of management, and a couple of false starts in 2005, the band started work on their debut album. Kenny Patterson was chosen as their record producer as he had worked with The Coral, Ian Broudie and Swayzak. The album was recorded at Goldtop Studios in London, in 2005. The band filled in at the last minute for a support slot in Greenock with Pete Doherty’s band, Babyshambles, in September 2005, and were subsequently asked to play the remaining Scottish dates of their tour. This led to the band supporting Babyshambles on another Scottish tour in 2006.

The much delayed first single, “Last Gasp”, from the debut album was released in August 2006. Brand left in September 2006 to be replaced by Rob McKinlay. Due to personal commitments, he was replaced in the summer of 2007 by Jon Paul Brownlow. The band’s self-titled debut album was released on Beatclub Recordings in March 2007.

Pritchard left the band in January 2008 to pursue his own solo work. He was replaced by Jim Lang. The band released “The New Kate Moss” in May 2008, and picked up airplay on numerous radio stations including BBC Radio 2 and 6music. This was followed by “How to Kill a Man” in November 2008, with a session on Radio Clyde’s Billy Sloan show the same month.

The band released another single, “Strike Me Down” in mid-2009, splitting up shortly afterwards.

I must have caught Odeon Beatclub at least once given the number of support slots they undertook over the years, but I can’t be certain.  I do recall them being written and talked about a fair bit which is why, when I saw it for sale in a second-hand store, I picked up a copy of a 7″ single which, as it turns out, was the debut mentioned above:-

mp3: Odeon Beatclub – Last Gasp

Think back to 2006 and there’s a great deal of this sort of music all across the airwaves and it felt that we were on the verge of another period when indie-pop with guitars was about to be fashionable again with, as it turned out, Arctic Monkeys leading the way.  Last Gasp is a more than decent enough record but it just doesn’t do enough to make it stand out and become a memorable one.  There must be a substantial number of musicians out there, singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers and keyboardists alike, who had a fleeting brush with fame and sniff of success back in the mid-00s who are now fast approaching or just turned 40 who will be looking back and wondering just why it didn’t last. The office or factory job now being held just won’t cut it in comparison.

The same thing goes for those who are a little bit older and had similar experiences in the 80s and 90s.  It must be hard not to get a tad bitter about things but all I’ll say is that those of us who were never talented enough to get near a stage or recording studio will always be jealous of what you did actually achieve.  And that applies to everybody associated with Odeon Beatclub.

JC

THESE EARLY DAYS…..AND B-SIDES

There are some days when a bit of easy-listening bordering on AOR is just what is needed. It doesn’t happen too often, but there are occasions when I just want everything around me to slow down and I find that putting on some low-key music can be a huge help.

One of my go-to albums on such days is Idlewild by Everything But The Girl, released in 1988. I’ve always loved Tracey Thorn‘s voice and Ben Watt‘s very accomplished acoustic guitar work, and they have never sounded better in that regard on this often quiet and very reflective album. It was the duo’s fourth LP and one of its songs, a cover of I Don’t Want To Talk About It went Top 3.

Worth mentioning in passing that this is a song that is famous/infamous in the UK when Rod Stewart‘s version was #1 in the summer of 1977 but sales figures are strongly rumoured to have been rigged to prevent God Save The Queen by The Sex Pistols being top of the charts. It was EBTG’s first, long overdue Top 20 single and it seemed as it would be a one-off until seven years later with the move into the dance/club sounds and the Todd Terry remix of Missing, provided a second visit to the heights of the singles charts.

Despite the lack of success on the 45s front, EBTG were popular with the record-buying public.

Idlewild, as I said earlier, was the fourth studio album and; like its predecessors, would sell enough copies (500,000) to qualify for a gold disc from the British Phonographic Industry. As is often the case, the record label issued one of the album’s best songs as the lead-off single, and it’s one which encapsulates that easy-listening vibe I referred to at the start of this post:-

mp3: Everything But The Girl – These Early Days

It’s a wonderfully emotive and hopeful lyric, written (I assume) to celebrate a nephew coming into the extended family. The infant James will now, all being well, be in his mid-30s and I wonder if he looks back on the song with a sense of awe that he could be immortalised in such a way

You’re only two and the whole wild world revolves around you,
And nothing happened yet that you might ever wish to forget.
It doesn’t stay that way, if I could I’d make stay that way.
And this you will recall in after years,
Though you may weary of this vale of tears –
These days remember, always remember.

You’re only two and I’ve no wish to worry you,
So pay no mind to those who say the world is unkind –
That’s just something they’ve read,
And if I could I’d strike them dead.
And this you will recall in after years,
Though you may weary of this vale of tears –
These days remember, always remember.

And honey there’s no rush,
The world will wait for you to grow up.
And this you will recall in after years,
Though you may weary of this vale of tears –
These days remember, always remember.

I hope you never change,
I’ll call you Jimmy, they call you James;
Don’t ever change,
I’ll call you Jimmy, they call you James.

I’ve been buying recently a fair amount of second-hand stuff on Discogs and I’ll often add a few things in if the seller is one of those who offers a deal on postage for multiple items, and as such I recently picked up a 12″ copy of These Early Days for the first time. There”s two tracks on the b-side, the first of which veers, certainly at the outset, in a frighteningly close musical tribute to True by Spandau Ballet but is more than saved by that wonderfully smooth voice and the way that Ben harmonises on the verses:-

mp3: Everything But The Girl – Dyed In The Grain

Dyed In The Grain was also available as the b-side on the 7″, but surely I’m not alone in thinking it was wasted there and should have been included on the parent album. It’s a lovely number and just captures perfectly what EBTG were about at this point in their career.

The bonus track on the 12″ is also an absolute gem:-

mp3: Everything But The Girl – No Place Like Home

I knew it was a cover from reading the info on the label. I had to turn to wiki:-

No Place Like Home is a song written by Paul Overstreet, and recorded by American country music artist Randy Travis. It was released in November 1986 as the fourth and final single from his album Storms of Life. The song reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in March 1987.

Paul Overstreet is an American country music singer and songwriter. He recorded 10 studio albums between 1982 and 2005, and charted 16 singles on the Billboard country charts, including two No. 1 hits. He has also written singles for several other country acts, including Randy Travis, Blake Shelton, The Judds and Kenny Chesney.

A totally new name for me, but I’m thinking my good friend CC will be able to offer up some thoughts……

This version, with just Tracey’s voice and Ben’s acoustic guitar is sublimely beautiful.

JC

 

 

THIS BLOG HAS BEEN FAR TOO RETRO LATELY……

Aside, that is, from the bonus post I shoved up on a whim to celebrate the release of Weirdo by Carla J Easton.

I am very conscious that the strength of this particular blog is that it has an almost exclusively retro feel, but there is sometimes a need to draw attention to contemporary music.  So, here are two videos for singles lifted from albums I’ve really enjoyed this year.

Neither are new bands.

Dream Wife, a London-based trio consisting of Rakel Mjöll (lead vocals), Alice Go (guitar, vocals), and Bella Podpadec (bass, vocals) have been together since 2016. Their eponymous debut album, released in 2018, was a frantically fabulous mix of punk, indie, and pop, and I’m delighted to much report that it is much the same on the 2020 follow-up So When You Gonna….

I’m told they are an explosive live act, akin to the sorts of shows the bands you would enjoy from the bands who were lumped under the Riot Grrrl ‘movement’ in the early 90s.  I was busy at the football last year when they turned up for a day long festival in Glasgow and so had been hoping to catch them this time around, but COVID-19 has put those plans to one side. All being well, they are due in Glasgow next April and I’ve a couple of tickets on order.

Hinds have been around for even longer, forming in Madrid back in 2011 (initially as Deers before being forced, via legal action, to change their name).  Another all-female line-up with Carlotta Cosials (vocals, guitar), Ana Perrote (vocals, guitar), Ade Martin (bass, backing vocals) and Amber Grimbergen (drums). Their first studio album, Leave Me Alone, appeared in the shops in January 2016, and its follow-up I Don’t Run, was released in April 2018.  Aldo and Comrade Colin are among those who have been raving about Hinds for a number of years and it has been remiss of me not to have featured them before now.

Hinds are less obviously confrontational and punky than Dream Wide with the music occasionally veering into the charming territory of The Modern Lovers, and at other times the spiky and punchy material of early Libertines seems to be a close cousin, especially on the first two albums. There’s other times they remind of early We’ve Got A Fuzzbox….., probably from the way the harmonies pan out as Carlotta and Ana share lead vocal duties.

The new record, however, leans much more towards pop, recorded in New York with producer Jennifer Decilveo, who has worked with Bat for Lashes, and The Wombats among others. It’s a short album – its ten tracks take under 33 minutes to listen to – and is packed with all sorts of hooks, riffs and melodies that stick with you.  It’s certainly been on heavy rotation in Villain Towers in this strange summer of 2020.

Here’s a couple of the older songs, both of which were released as singles

mp3: Dream Wife – Let’s Make Out
mp3: Hinds – Chili Town

Finally, here’s one that Hinds did, initially as a song for a flexidisc for a limited edition version of the new album, but has since been made available in digital form.

mp3: Hinds – Spanish Bombs

Yup….. it’s a cover, and a good one at that!

JC

BURN BRIGHTLY AND THEN CRASH…..

“No band has dominated a 12-month period like Frankie ruled 1984, with three singles all at No 1. Yet today they rarely get cited by other musicians.”

That was the opening gambit to a piece on Frankie Goes To Hollywood that appeared in The Guardian almost exactly six years ago. It was followed with these words:-

It is August 1984 and Frankie Goes To Hollywood are in their pomp. They have just spent their ninth week at No 1 with Two Tribes, that ultimate cold war-era document with the annihilating bassline that sounds, in the words of Capital Radio DJ Roger Scott, “like the end of the world”. To celebrate their final performance of it on Top of the Pops they are wearing matching white wedding jackets with black trousers and bow ties. After all the controversy surrounding Frankie – their previous No 1, Relax, was banned for its “obscene” content, and the video for Two Tribes was banned for being indecent – even this choice of outfit seems like a provocative gesture.

To further playfully mark the occasion, drummer Peter “Ped” Gill and bassist Mark O’Toole have swapped instruments, while singer Holly Johnson, to the bemusement of the BBC cameramen, prefaces his performance – with a mixture of relish and disgust – by tearing up a copy of the Sun, the newspaper that has been doorstepping his parents in Liverpool for quotes about their gay son.

Meanwhile, Relax has just climbed back up the charts to No 2, making this the first time anyone has occupied the top two slots since Hello Goodbye and the Magical Mystery Tour EP in January 1968. It’s official: Frankie are the most scandalous affront to decency since the Sex Pistols and the biggest band, Liverpudlian or otherwise, since the Beatles. “It was more than we imagined it could be,” marvels Paul Rutherford, Frankie’s co-frontman and dancing clone, of their 1984 heyday. “We just couldn’t see it coming at all. But God, we rode it. There’s been nothing like it since.”

FGTH burned very brightly and intensely for a short period. A third number one, at Christmas 1984, would be followed by the multi-million selling debut album, Welcome To The Pleasuredome. Very little was heard of them, musically, in 1985 and much of 1986 until new single Rage Hard was released. It marked a new sound, one that leaned more towards a rock sound than pop/electronica, and the critics panned it and the subsequent album, Liverpool. The band split within six months.

One of the reasons that FGTH don’t get quoted much is that the debut album and hit singles are really seen as the work of uber-producer Trevor Horn rather than the musicians, while there is also a great deal of cynicism around the way that Paul Morley, a journalist and writer who was as much reviled as he was admired, had proven to been part of the band’s rise to fame with the way he had hyped things up and devised a range of shock tactics, including the radio and video bans. Horn had nothing to do with the second album and Morley had eased himself away from everyday activities at ZTT Records. Indeed, nobody was denying that the FGTH musicians hadn’t played much on the debut but were rectifying matters on the follow-up, enabling everyone to draw a clear line in the sand if they so wanted.

It may have largely been hype, but there surely can’t be any arguement that the two initial #1 singles were trailblazing in so many ways and still have the capacity to sound great when blasted loudly through a decent set of speakers.

mp3: Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax (Sex Mix)
mp3: Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes (annihilation)

Both taken from the 12″ singles. The former is 7:25 in length and the latter extends to more than nine minutes, complete with dialogue that mimicked the advice given in the UK government’s propaganda film about what to do in the event of a nuclear attack (as well as comedian Chris Barrie doing a tremendous impression of President Ronald Reagan).  As such it requires an interested listener to make some considerable time to take it all in. But trust me, it’ll be worth it.

JC

THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON (8)

I’m still battered and bruised from the kicking I got last month when I dismissed the merits of a number of songs, and in particular Hardcore Uproar by Together, which came into the charts at #24 in the last week of July 1990.  As Drew so succinctly put it,

“HU has stood the test of time…(and it is) a signpost in the direction that music was taking; fuck your guitars – 808s and 303s are where the fun lies”

Now, to be fair, I did indicate that the UK singles charts would begin to increasingly reflect what was going on out there in the fields but given that I never once set foot in one, nor for that matter in any clubs where the dance music explosion was happening, then this nostalgic look back will still concentrate on the areas where the fun didn’t lie, for the simple reason that I won’t be familiar with many of the new entry singles.  But I’ll refrain from ever suggesting that they should be passed over.  And, now that we’ve got that pathetic attempt at an apology and excuse out of the way, here’s a look at some of the singles which entered the charts in August 1990.

I always have a look at what held down the #1 spot in any given month as it offers up an indication of the overall tastes of the great British public.  July and ended with a tune called Turtle Power by Partners in Kryme sitting at the top of the pile where it would remain for the first two charts of August.  But just in case you thought this was the nadir of the year…..it would be replaced by Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini by Bombalurina, continuing the historical trend of the summer months providing the most horrific of novelty #1s.  This one, however, was particularly horrific…….

The new entries for the chart of 5 August were quite low key….some stinkers from the likes of Roxette, Sting, Wet Wet Wet, and Tina Turner were all that could be found in the new Top 50 along with these two:-

What Time Is Love? – KLF (#34)
Where Are You Baby? – Betty Boo (#35)

KLF had, under the guise of The Timelords, enjoyed a #1 with Doctorin’ The Tardis in 1988, and indeed the follow-up to that track had been the original trance version of What Time Is Love?. The new version was subtitled “Live at Trancentral”, the first of what would become a trilogy of upbeat house songs that would make superstars of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, before the trail of destruction that would accompany their demise after the Brit Awards acknowledged their success. This particular single would spend more than three months in the chart, peaking at #5.

Where Are You Baby? was the second big hit of the year for 20-year old Alison Clarkson, aka Betty Boo, following on from Doing The Do which was mentioned in the May 2020 edition of this feature. This one went all the way to #3 in due course and remains the most successful single that she would release.

Only one other song from the new entries this week is worth highlighting in that it provided a very minor hit for one the co-vocalists in Propaganda, who had enjoyed some hits a few years previous when they were on ZTT Records alongside Frankie Goes To Hollywood

Absolut(e) – Clauia Brucken

It came in at #71 and dropped back out again. And it shouldn’t be confused with the song of a similar name by Scritti Politti as recently featured.

August is traditionally a quietish month for new releases as most folk in England go off on holiday at that time and sales do tend to drop off. Creation Records, however, weren’t for holding back, especially when they had something on their hands that would provide both the perfect follow-up to Loaded and the song that would capture much of the mood of what was happening out in the fields

Come Together – Primal Scream

Of course, the extended versions are far superior, but this is the version that got daytime radio play and helped generate the sales that saw it come into charts at #26 on 12 August.

Slightly further down, a new hip-hop act from America was enjoying the first taste of chart success in the UK

Bonita Applebum – A Tribe Called Quest

Over the years, there has been more critical acclaim than sales for Tribe, with this #47 entry (which proved to be its highest position) just one of five hit singles during the decade, the biggest of which would be Can I Kick It?, in 1991.

Perhaps the most interesting of the new entries this week sneaked it at #60, from where it would go on to enjoy a 13-week stay, including two successive weeks at #2:-

Groove Is In The Heart – Dee-Lite

A close cousin to Betty Boo, this was the sort of dance music with a pop touch that was proving to be popular with much of the record-buying public. It still, thirty years on, sounds fresh enough to get young folk on the dancefloors these days.

George Michael had the highest new entry in the chart of 19 August with Praying For Time coming in at #8. Just behind him at #11 was one that I hadn’t appreciated had been such a massive hit with Deacon Blue’s new four-song EP of Bacharach and David songs entering at #11 and eventually reaching #2. It was one of just three singles that went Top 10 for the band albeit there were sixteen top 40 hits between 1988 and 1994.

I think I’m on safe ground by dissing and not featuring most of the remainder of the new entries of the 19 August chart:-

Can Can You Party – Jive Bunny and The Mastermixer (#14)
Silhouttes – Cliff Richard (#17)
End of The World – Sonia (#37)
Now You’re Gone – Whitesnake (#39)
Dive! Dive! Dive! – Bruce Dickinson (#45)
Don’t Be A Fool – Loose Ends (#48)
Heartbroke and Busted – Magnum (#53)
In The Back Of My Mind – Fleetwood Mac (#66)

Down at #67 there was a little bit of indie, from a band riding the coattails of Madchester (Stone Roses version) via a release on London Records

Up and Down – The High

while a little bit higher, at #54, there was a minor hit for Prefab Sprout with the single that had been issued in advance of the much anticipated new album, Jordan: The Comeback which was creating a real buzz among critics who had been privy to an advanced listen

Looking For Atlantis – Prefab Sprout

That always seemed to be the thing with Prefab Sprout. This was the band’s fourteenth single (including re-issues) of which all but two hadn’t reached the Top 40, with the huge exception being the #7 hit enjoyed by The King Of Rock’n’Roll in 1988.

And with that, we reach the chart of 26 August.

Betty Boo is up there at #4 surrounded by Yellow Polka Dot Bikinis, Bacharach & David covers, New Kids on The Block, Jive Bunny, Roxette and Cliff Richard, The edition of Top of The Pops aired that week must have been a true horror show.

There was further evidence of Madchester’s impact with a new entry at #40:-

Groovy Train – The Farm

As was mentioned in the May edition of this feature, nobody took much notice of The Farm and they were seen as something of a joke band. But they then recorded and released Groovy Train, a song that would bring them fame and a little bit of fortune, going on to eventually reach #6 and lay the foundation for an even bigger hit come Christmas-time.

Nothing else is worth featuring other than that. I’ll wake you all up again in September.

JC
(aged 57 years and 2 months)

 

JUST AS WELL IT WASN’T……

If you head over to Discogs, you’ll find some info on a song called Down At The Mission, the would-be debut single from Lloyd Cole & The Commotions.

This was intended to be self-released as the band’s first 45; after it was manufactured, they never put it out, as they got signed to a major label.

“Down At The Mission” is an entirely different song than “Down On Mission Street” from the debut album, Rattlesnakes.

It was due to be issued on a label called Welcome To Las Vegas and it had the catalogue number of LCC 001. The reverse of the sleeve advises that the Commotions consisted of just two other musicians – Neil Clark and Blair Cowan – which means Steven Irvine and Lawrence Donegan became the rhythm section at a later date. The aborted single was recorded at Park Lane Studios on the south side of Glasgow (not that far from Villain Towers and a very short walk from Aldo’s Maisonette). The drums on the recording were, if the info on the runout groove is to be believed, came courtesy of Kenny MacDonald, one of the engineers at the studio and who would later play drums for Bourgie Bourgie.

While Down At The Mission was never seen again during the time the Commotions were together on Polydor Records, its b-side was re-recorded and became one of their most popular songs:-

mp3: Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Down At The Mission
mp3: Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken (early version)

I’ve called this posting ‘Just As Well It Wasn’t…..’ as the very first entry in the ‘Cracking Debut Singles series’ just happened to be Perfect Skin.

JC

THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF R.E.M. (Part 10)

As mentioned last week, first heard on the radio and the clincher to me asking for Document to be a Xmas present in 1987.

At the time It’s The End Of The World….was sinking without a trace in the UK, the release over in America the same week in August 1987 of The One I Love was a game-changer. It took the band into the Top 10 and paved the way for the major labels to come looking to entice R.E.M. with a mega-sized contract.

It made sense to give the single a release here in the UK and across Europe, which duly happened in November 1987. The release of Document had been to near-universal acclaim from the critics, and indeed all four of the UK’s main music papers were talking up R.E.M. as the saviours of guitar music. It got some airplay, but not a huge amount on the daytime shows – maybe producers had cottoned onto the fact that this was not the straightforward love story that it first appeared from hearing the refrain of it going out to the one who was loved.

It reached #51 in the UK charts which was progress but not as much as perhaps was hoped for given the success it had enjoyed back home. Indeed, despite the praise heaped on Document, it had spent only three weeks in the album charts before falling out, and so for all that the critics talked the band and the songs up, the sales weren’t really being generated over here.

mp3: R.E.M. – The One I Love

I won’t waste time going on about how The One I Love is among the most misunderstood lyrics ever penned, I think we all know that.

Instead, I’ll get to the b-sides, again from a second-hand copy of the 12″ (which wasn’t in the greatest condition as you’ll soon spot)

mp3: R.E.M. – Last Date
mp3: R.E.M. – Disturbance At The Heron House (live)

Last Date is an instrumental, written in 1960 by Floyd Cramer, one of the pioneers of piano playing in country music. It’s worth remembering that Document had been recorded in Nashville and this tune, which has been covered by dozens of performers over the years, was probably heard on numerous occasions when the band was out relaxing in bars away from the studio. It wasn’t, however, recorded during the Document sessions, dating instead to early September 87 when they convened in a studio back home in Athens, to rehearse for the upcoming tour of four European dates followed by two exhausting months on the road to all parts of America.

You’d be hard pushed to identify it as a performance by R.E.M. without knowing in advance, but it does demonstrate the abilities of Berry/Buck/Mills as musicians capable of turning their hand to a multitude of genres. Last Date would enjoy an American release in January 1988 as the b-side to It’s The End of The World….which was selected as the follow-up to The One I Love.

Disturbance At The Heron House became the third track to receive an official release from the McCabe’s Guitar Shop show. Again, it was one of the tracks performed across both sets – this is taken from the first set with just Peter Buck on acoustic guitar while Michael Stipe sings. It’s worth remembering that it was a new and unreleased song at the time of this performance (May 87) and that is a reasonable excuse for a couple of bum notes, singing and playing.

Eleven months later, and with R.E.M. having left I.R.S. for a new home at Warner Bros, their old label re-issued The One I Love in the UK, with a different sleeve and featuring two old singles – Fall On Me and So. Central Rain – as the b-sides on the 12″. It was an attempted cash-in but the single failed to chart.

Fast forward to September 1991 and R.E.M. are at a new peak of popularity with the record-buying public in the UK. The old label went for another cash-in, releasing The One I Love for the third time. No 12″ release this time, but it was put out on 7″ and in CD format, with two versions of the latter.

The wording inside the first CD, which also came with a detailed bio of the band, stated:-

THIS IS THE FIRST IN A SERIES OF TWO LIMITED EDITION CD’S TO BE RELEASED FOR ‘THE ONE I LOVE’ SINGLE. EACH ONE INCLUDES TWO LIVE SONGS NEVER PREVIOUSLY AVAILABLE ON COMPACT-DISC. TOGETHER THEY WILL FORM A UNIQUE RECORD OF R.E.M. LIVE

The only thing, however, is that all of the live performances collected on the 2xCDs had been made available before on vinyl across various singles and so there was nothing new for the long-term fans to experience. But the ploy worked as the 1991 release of The One I Love went to #16, which was three places higher than had been achieved by Losing My Religion seven months earlier.

Tune in next week for something different on the third and final single to be lifted from Document.

JC

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #224 : NYAH FEARTIES

From wiki:-

Nyah Fearties were a Scottish music band from the village of Lugton, Scotland, that created a near-unique brand of anarchic modern folk between 1982 and 1995. Combining the rich traditional music and storytelling culture of its native Ayrshire, with a jarring punk ethos, madcap humour and improvised acoustic instrumentation (though usually amplified), the band made a significant contribution to the British folk-punk scene of the 1980s and 1990s.

It often tested live audiences with a feedback-laced aural assault, more akin to experimental rock groups like Velvet Underground or The Jesus and Mary Chain, than an acoustic folk act. In addition, Nyah Fearties were known for utilising all manner of improvised and imaginative musical paraphernalia. Examples of the latter included bashing upturned metal dustbins to create percussion, and the use of an archaic gramophone upon which Andy Stewart records were ‘scratched’ in the style of a hip-hop DJ.

Nyah Fearties have been described as a kind of hybrid between Celtic folk-punk outfit The Pogues, and Glasgow-based industrial music band Test Dept. Yet this is a somewhat misleading analogy. As Stuart Cosgrove noted in the NME (March 14, 1987): “The Fearties are more critical than The Pogues, their Scotland is not a place to be eulogised… it’s a home whose myths are savagely demolished…they use found percussion but stripped of Test Dept’s artiness…”

Nyah Fearties had at its core the brothers Stephen Wiseman and David Wiseman, although the pair were often joined – both in recorded and live performance – by a wide and varying ad hoc circle of guest musicians, friends and acquaintances.

During a 13-year career Nyah Fearties barely emerged from its underground roots, enjoying little or no commercial success while maintaining a loyal cult following. The band did, however, make a live appearance on primetime British television music programme The Tube and hosted a one-off Lugton Loonie Show for BBC Radio Scotland.

I caught them live on a couple of occasions but never took to them. Maybe I was in a bad mood or something for many others out there, including many regular readers, have more fond memories. I’ve pinched some words penned by Craig over at Plain Or Pan as long ago as 2012:-

Nyah Fearties were a brilliant, brilliant 2-man folk/punk band from Lugton in Ayrshire, a place so small and insignificant that Google are still looking for it on one of their own maps, even if The Fearties did their best to put their wee toun there. They had a sound that had obvious reference points in The Pogues and The Men They Couldn’t Hang, but there was a rough and raggedyarsedness to their sound, more no-fi than lo-fi, that made MacGowan and co. sound like a slick jazz funk band from 1982 by comparison. The Fearties were very parochial. Not for them a Scottishness that reeked of purple heather and proud images of Edinburgh Castle, they sang of what they knew. Lugton Junction. Bible John. Sawney Bean. Red Kola. A Sair Erse.

This is part of a tremendously funny tale of a gig back in the very early days in which the author wakes up the following morning with a hangover and the discovery of an injury from being a tad too enthusiastic in the mosh pit. It’s the best thing you’ll read (or re-read) all day.

I’ve one song by Nyah Fearties and it’s thanks to it being included as part of the Big Gold Dreams boxset:-

mp3: Nyah Fearties – Hills O’ New Galloway

There’s more stuff out there waiting to be discovered if you so fancy.

JC

BONUS POST : MORE KYLIE

There was a very intriguing final comment after the epic Kylie ICA that was so lovingly crafted by Swiss Adam:-

Tom W says:
August 13, 2020 at 9:37 am

I largely approve of your Kylie compilation, but I assume you didn’t include the monolith of beauty that is Where Is The Feeling (Brothers In Rhythm Soundtrack mix) because, like so many, you’ve not heard it. Honestly, you should remedy that ASAP. Thought it was just me who loved it for years, then discovered it had a sizeable cult following, then by chance heard Kylie herself talking about how much she loved it on the radio this year. It’s not on streaming, I could send you the mp3 but I’m not in the UK at the moment. Confident no-one will regret checking it out. It’s a journey.

I then received this e-mail from Khayem:-

I just read Tom W’s comment re: the Kylie/Brothers In Rhythm remix and I’d heartily concur! I am in the UK and I do have an MP3 but wasn’t sure if it’s okay to post links directly in the comments, so I thought I’d send it via TVV email instead.

And with that, here’s a bonus song for a Friday afternoon

mp3: Kylie Minogue – Where Is The Feeling (Brothers In Rhythm Soundtrack mix)

Where Is the Feeling? was released as a single in July 1995. Technically, it was the third single to be lifted from the eponymous album that had been released the previous year but the 45 involved a very substantial remix making it almost unrecognisable from the album version.

It’s worth mentioning that Where Is The Feeling was a cover of a song that had been a 1993 club hit for an act called Within a Dream in 1993. By the time it came to release a third single from the album, Kylie was moving to a position where she wanted to contribute more on the writing side and as part of that journey she wrote some additional lyrics for the remix.

Brothers in Rhythm, who at the time comprised Dave Seaman and Steve Anderson, had produced much of the album but they really went to town with the opportunity to do something with the single release, creating three mixes of which the version suggested by Tom W and kindly supplied by Khayem, is the longest at thirteen plus minutes.  There’s a really substantial build-up to the track with Kylie’s vocal contribution not appearing until four minutes in…and even then you’d be hard pushed to initially recognise her.  It then visits all sorts of places, displaying a wide range of pop/electronic/dance sounds. It’s one that demands and deserves to be played loud.  It’ll make (some of) you happy…….

JC

 

SCARED TO GET HAPPY – THE ROOM

From the Scared To Get Happy booklet:-

Despite being extremely prolific, this Liverpool band remained a best-kept secret, overshadowed by the city’s more visible cousins Echo & The Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes. Fronted by Dave Jackson, they made two moody homegrown singles for own label Box in 1980/81, ‘Waiting Room’ and ‘Bated Breath’, plus a cassette album ‘Bitter Reaction’, attracting comparisons with Joy Division.

By 1982 a move to Red Flame coincided with more melodic songs, epitomised by the epic, uplifting tones of ‘Things Have Learned To Walk That Ought To Crawl’ and album ‘Indoor Fireworks’. After mini-LP ‘Clear! (1983), The Room collaborated with Tom Verlaine on final album ‘In Evil Hour’.

Jackson later founded Benny Profane with Room bassist Becky Stringer before playing with Dust and The Dead Cowboys. His 2010 solo album, ‘Cathedral Mountain’ was recorded with John Head (Pale Fountains, Shack) and Tim O’Shea (Send No Flowers).

mp3: The Room – Things Have Learnt To Walk That Ought To Crawl

This is another great find from the boxset.  Dave Jackson has the sort of voice that makes my ears prick up and the song bounces along at a great pace.  It’s not ground-breaking or anything, but it’s a fine example of the stuff I was dancing to in the students union back in 1982 – and what about those wonderful ‘la-la-la-las’ just before the instrumental break which is Bunnyesque in so many ways.

I’ve dug deep to come up with the b-side.

mp3: The Room – Dream Of Flying

I was listening to a great deal of fine music in 1982 and by the sounds of it, The Room should have found their way into the collection.  It just goes to show how much stuff is still out there lying undiscovered.

JC

THE PERFECT POP SOUNDS OF THE MID-80s

Songs To Remember, the 1982 album from Scritti Politti, is and always will be one of my all-time favourites. I’ve written about it a couple of times previously, on both this and the old blog that was so brutally and callously murdered by google.

I haven’t ever focussed on the follow-up, Cupid and Psyche 85 but am intending to rectify that today.

It’s not that I didn’t like the album when it was released in June 1985, which was exactly as I was putting my student days behind me and getting set to start my first job that involved a salary rather than a wage. It’s an album that seemed to have a long gestation given that it hit the shops after four hit singles in a row, and when it did, it caused a bit of consternation as it only had nine tracks, and of these, only five were new tunes as all the singles had been included. Songs To Remember had seemed the perfect fit to how I imagined I was living my student life and the songs didn’t sound out of place on compilation tapes alongside tunes by The Smiths, The Bunnymen, The The, Talking Heads, New Order or countless other post-punk/new wave acts that made up the majority of the record collection.

The singles that had brought fame and fortune to Scritti Politti didn’t fit in comfortably with such sounds, although they didn’t sound out of place with the big new, brash pop sounds that were beginning to dominate the charts in the middle of the decade, and I’ve never been ashamed to admit of having a love for such music, albeit a lot of it has dated badly.

Cupid & Psyche 85 somehow manages to pull off something akin to a magic trick. One listen, even if you didn’t know the title of the album and you wouldn’t fail to notice it dates from the 80s given its production in which the latest technology of the day is harnessed to full effect. It has big synths and it has big drums (often of a synthetic nature). It has bass lines slapped over the tunes and the vocals are often multi-tracked. Sparse it most certainly is not. Low budget it most certainly is not. It’s an album that would likely have bankrupted Rough Trade if Scritti Politti hadn’t been allowed to take up the offer dangled in front of them by Virgin Records.  T

It’s an album that most certainly was aimed at the mass-market rather than bedsit land. It’s an album of pop at its purest and its finest…..but it was hard for this particular to admit a pure love for at the time of release.

In saying that, hearing the first new song post-Songs To Remember was a real joy.

Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin) still sounds astonishingly good all these years later. Released in February 1984, it was accompanied by a stunning and glossy video that featured Michael Clark, the new superstar of modern ballet who had previously worked with The Fall. It sounded immense coming out of crackly radios and beyond belief when played over the sound system in the student union. It deservedly went Top 10 and enabled Green Gartside, with his new haircut that seemed to pay equal tribute to George Michael and Princess Diana, onto Top of The Pops.

The follow-up, released while Wood Beez was still hanging around the lower reached of the Top 75 some four months on, was Absolute. It didn’t do quite as well as Wood Beez, but still went Top 20 which was perhaps a reflection that while it was a more than decent enough sounding record and had the occasional moment of magic, especially around Green’s vocal harmonies with the backing singers, it didn’t have the same immediate or lasting impact.

The third single in a year was issued in November 1984. To be honest, until the following year and the eventual release of the album, I hadn’t realised that Hypnotize had been given a release as I couldn’t ever recall hearing it or indeed seeing it on sale in any record shops. It was a flop, only reaching #68 which was less than had been managed by any of the three singles from Songs To Remember. Maybe there was some thought that the Scritti Politti bubble had burst already.

It was a full six months before anything else was heard and this time around, Green & co. managed to again silence the doubters thanks to The Word Girl. It had been the slow, meandering and stylish sound of The ‘Sweetest’ Girl that had led many people to fall for charms of Scritti Politti back in 1981, myself included, and here it was four years on that history was repeating with a lovers-rock effort that was nigh on perfect for the times. The record-buying public loved it and bought enough copies to take it to #6 in mid-June 1985, providing the final building block for the release of the parent album which itself went top 5 on the week of its release where it stayed for a month.

And, if you want to look at the exalted company who were also near the top of the album charts that month, you’ll find Bryan Ferry, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, Sting, and Tears for Fears. It was payola time and the album would eventually be certified as Gold with at least 500,000 sales in the UK.

The fact that there were only five new songs on the album did restrict the opportunities to further promote it through another single, but Perfect Way was issued in that format in August 1985. It did scrape into the Top 50 but given it didn’t prove to be a smash, any further thoughts to perhaps give Hypnotize the re-release treatment were put to one side.

As the years have passed, I’ve mellowed out a bit on Cupid & Psyche 85 and am not quite as hostile as I was back in the day. It did help that I’ve long had a love for Wood Beez and The Word Girl, but it remains an album, a bit like Our Favourite Shop by The Style Council (which came out around the same time), that I enjoy listening in full only every now and again, but have a lot of time for a number of the component parts.

I normally break up my longs posts with bits of music but there’s a reason I’ve not done so today. I’ve mentioned how the songs all have that big production and, as such they need to be played on a decent turntable with a good amp and speakers to get the best effect – which is why I have hunted down in recent weeks, as pristine a copy as I could of all the 12″ singles lifted from the album. And here they are:-

mp3: Scritti Politti – Wood Beez (version)
mp3: Scritti Politti – Absolute (version)
mp3: Scritti Politti – Hypnotize (version)
mp3: Scritti Politti – The Word Girl/Flesh & Blood (version)
mp3: Scritti Politti – Perfect Way (version – extended mix)

Finally, it was brought to my attention that Green Gartside had, earlier this year released a 7″ single, on Rough Trade, the first under his own name. The two tracks on the release are both covers of songs originally recorded by Anne Briggs, regarded by many who follow the genre as one of the great British folk singers. It was a new name to and all I can say, having picked up the single, Ms. Briggs was a very fine writer.

JC