THE GREAT VINYL GIVEAWAY

Ach, I know the title is completely OTT in terms of what is on offer today.  I hope I haven’t disappointed too many of you.

The idea is to pull together all the bits of music on 7″ vinyl that I have sitting in the cupboard which originally came courtesy of being given away free with copies of music papers. Six EPs on offer with a fair bit of hissing, skipping and popping given the age of the plastic and the fact they were fairly lo-fi recordings to begin with, not to mention they have all been picked up second hand, often via charity shops) but there’s a few things worth a few minutes of your time. There’s also a few for which I unreservedly apologise (especially The Cult, and Simply Red):-

1. Drastic Plastic: NME GIV2 (1985)

A1: The Style Council – My Ever Changing Moods (live in Liverpool)
A2: Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Forest Fire (live in London)
B1: The Robert Cray Band – Bad Influence (live in Chicago)
B2: Prefab Sprout – Real Life (Just Around The Corner)

2. Fourplay: NME GIV4 (1986)

A1: Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Uncomplicated (NME Version)
A2: Billy Bragg – Honey, I’m A Big Boy Now (NME Version)
B1: Mantronix – Hardcore Hip Hop (NME Version)
B2: Miles Davis – Splatch

3. Sounds Waves 3 (1988)

A1: The Sugarcubes – Motor Crash
A2: The Wedding Present – Go Out And Get ‘Em Boy (live at the Reading Majestic)
B1: The Pixies – Down To The Well
B2: The Pixies – Rock A My Soul
B3: The Pogues – Kitty (live at Glasgow Barrowlands)

(all tracks EXCLUSIVE to Sounds)

4. Sounds Showcase 1 (1987)

A1: The Cult – Outlaw
A2: The Fall – Hey! Luciani (original version)
B1: The Adult Net – Spin This Web
B2: The Go-Betweens – I Just Get Caught Out*

*different version than would appear later on Tallulah

5. The Hit Red Hot EP (1985)

A1: The Style Council – Walls Come Tumbling Down (live at Manchester Apollo)
A2: The Jesus and Mary Chain – Taste of Cindy
B1: Redskins – Kick Over The Statues (The Ramsey McKinnock Mix)
B2: Simply Red – Every Bit Of Me

(I have absolutely no recollection of The Hit as a publication and there’s no real info out there on t’internet. This EP seems to have been given away with Issue #1 in September 1985, the JAMC and Redskins tracks are labelled as ‘exclusive new studio recordings’ and the Simply Red song is a ‘limited edition studio recording’ – whatever that means!)

6. RM Four Track Solid EP (1986)

A1: New Order – Sub-Culture (exclusive remix)
A2: Raymonde – Jennifer Wants (exclusive track)
A3: Hipsway – Bad Thing Longing
A4: Adventures – Walk Away Renee (specially recorded for rm)

RM was a re-branded and re-launched of the long-running weekly paper, Record Mirror. This particular version of Sub-Culture, which was remixed by John Robie, to the best of my knowledge has only ever been made available on this particular piece of vinyl. It’s over seven minutes long and it’s a good one………

All this on the day the old blog first appeared 14 years ago.

JC

IT’S HERE, ALBEIT JUST ONE YEAR LATE….

Here we are on Tuesday 29 September 2020.

Exactly one year ago today, on Sunday 29 September 2019, I featured Part 4 of The Singular Adventures of Luke Haines in which I looked at How Could I Be Wrong, which was released on CD, 10″ and 12″ vinyl.

I mentioned that the 10″ version of the single was a limited edition effort with it offering up a live version of Staying Power (a b-side of debut single Showgirl) that had been recorded at a gig in Paris in February 1993. I also mentioned that, sadly, I didn’t have a copy and so couldn’t offer readers the chance to hear this particular version.

Well, a few months back, I did track down a second-hand copy of the 10″ piece of vinyl and have been saving this for today:-

mp3: The Auteurs – Staying Power (live in Paris)

Oh, and I’ve ripped it at 320kpbs too…..

Given that nobody left a comment last time around, I won’t be the slightest bit offended if this is met with a great wall of indifference.

JC

THE MONDAY MORNING HI-QUALITY VINYL RIP : Part Three : PARTY FEARS TWO

I don’t think I need to say too much about this particular song.  My thanks to Martin Elliott (AKA Our Swedish Correspondent) for  the suggestion.  It’s actually worth sharing the contents of his e-mail:-

Hi Jim!

In my mind a very natural connection to the Paul Haig 12″ would be The Associates, considering the friendship between especially Billy and Paul. Now I have a hard time making a choice between Party Fears Two and Country Club, but tend to lean towards PF2 since the version of It’s Better This Way on the b-side is cracking – and slightly different from the album version. But then the Country Club 12″ version is just pure magic…

Then you could, if you want some kind of link to the next Monday move to Cocteau Twins, Peppermint Pig 12″ which is produced by Alan (even though I read that the band didn’t like it all and thought Alan didn’t comprehend the slightest what they wanted to do…).

Anyway – the risk is you’ll hear from me again on this topic, it ticks pretty much all my boxes. 🙂

Thus, I nominate The Associates – Party Fears Two as a Monday classic.

All the best!
Martin

More than happy to oblige.

mp3: Associates – Party Fears Two

Ripped from the original 12″ vinyl, dating back to 1982, at 320 kbps.  As is this, albeit it is a bit more crackly than the b-side, especially during the quiet opening twenty seconds.  But it does come at a groovy, groovy speed……

mp3: Associates – It’s Better This Way

Tune in next Monday for another hi-quality vinyl rip.

JC

THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF R.E.M. (Part 16)

Warner Bros was now milking R.E.M. and the ever-increasing fanbase for all it was worth.  No sooner had Shiny Happy People looked like finally slipping out of the Top 75 that plans were hatched for a third single from Out of Time at the beginning of August 1991.

And, as if to demonstrate to the wider world that the band was not just Michael Stipe and a bunch of backing musicians, the decision was taken to release one of the songs on which Mike Mills takes the lead:-

mp3: R.E.M. – Near Wild Heaven

Now, bear in mind that I wasn’t, at the time, aware of Superman having been a previous single. I thought it was quite a brave move by the record label as, and in agreement with a previous observation from JTFL although I will be a tad more diplomatic, I’m not a fan of the bassist taking the lead vocal.  The thing is, they probably did the math and realised that anything with an R.E.M. label in the summer of 1991 was bound to sell well and the brand wouldn’t suffer too much damage.

Near Wild Heaven reached #27.  The following month, the IRS cash-in of the re-release of The One I Love reached #16.

I really didn’t have any reason to buy this single. I should also mention that I’m not much of a Beach Boys fan and the song felt rather like a tribute to that sort of sound with the ba-ba-ba-ba-ba harmonies, albeit there’s some neat, if repetitive, guitar work going on in the background. But, and here’s where record label marketing folk earn their crust, I was sucked in by the extra tracks on the CD single.

It was released on 7″, 12″, CD and cassette but this time around, just the one CD which came badged as the Collectors Edition from the outset. The Robster, who if you recall worked in a record store at the time, has helpfully advised that th’e rules had changed in the months between the release of Shiny Happy People and Near Wild Heaven, with just four formats allowed if a single wanted to be eligible for the charts. The double CD was out, for now, as the cassette held its place in the line-up.

R.E.M., earlier in the year, had played two ‘secret’ shows at the Borderline in London. They were billed as Bingo Hand Job. The shows had been attended by many a music journo, all of who had written glowingly about the shows, highlighting the informal and fun-nature of the gigs, and the role played by all the various guests who joined them on stage, such as Peter Holsapple, Robyn Hitchcock, and Billy Bragg. It was actually the fact that I had missed out on Bragg rather than R.E.M. that I was most upset about at the time, and so when it was revealed that songs recorded at the Borderline shows would accompany the release of Near Wild Heaven, I was in!

mp3: R.E.M. – Tom’s Diner (live)
mp3: R.E.M. – Low (live)
mp3: R.E.M. – Endgame (live)

The fact that the audience was having a blast can be heard from the opening seconds of the Suzanne Vega cover as the reaction is loud laughter. Bragg becomes a human beatbox as Stipe butchers the lyrics; Bragg then joins in on unique backing vocals with lyrics from Madness and EMF songs before it collapses in a heap after two minutes. Maybe I was expecting a lot more, but my initial reaction was one of sad disbelief. It was no doubt funny to those who witnessed it in the flesh but it came across as very lame on the CD.

The other two songs, both tracks that could be found on Out of Time, work better. Indeed the initially haunting and then impassioned version of Low is quite outstanding. Endgame does sound as if it was one of those occasions where the band members swapped instruments to not quite show-off their skills but to break what could be the tedium of an all-acoustic show. If not, then Mike Mills and Peter Buck have never sounded so clumsy. (N.B. – The Robster doesn’t think it is a case of them swapping instruments, merely the fact that a new song is very unrehearsed!…..and I will always bow to his superior knowledge on all things R.E.M.)

The 7″ and 12″ each had a further track taken from the Borderline shows:-

mp3: R.E.M. – Pop Song ’89 (live)

Worth mentioning in passing that this was already the third time a version of Pop Song ’89 had been issued as a b-side or additional track.  (Stand and Shiny Happy People had been the earlier occasions)

There was one other track on the 12″:-

mp3: R.E.M. – Half A World Away (acoustic live)

This was recorded on 1 April 1991 as part of a four-song set and interview that went out on ‘Rockline‘, a syndicated radio show that broadcast across the USA. I’m sure it was also that show which provided the acoustic version of Losing My Religion as featured last week.

A quick PS for JTFL….two days later there was another live radio broadcast, this time of a 25-song set which included a load of fun covers of themes from TV shows, that went out on KCRW Snap-FM Radio in your neighbourhood of Santa Monica.

It’s me again next week with the fourth and final single lifted from Out of Time.

JC

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #230 : OSTLE BAY

This week’s offering has involved a bit of detective work behind the scenes and hopefully, it all makes sense.

I’ve one song by Ostle Bay in the collection, and it came from its inclusion on one of three CDs sent to be a number of years ago by Phil Hogarth, a friend of the blog going back many years.  Indeed, there’s every chance during the next down period when/if I manage to get away on holiday that three of the days will be devoted to Phil’s 3 x CDs as they came packed with great tunes, many from singers and bands that were totally new to me.

I had an idea that Ostle Bay might be Scottish as the name is taken from a picturesque but fairly remote part of the country called Ostel Bay on the west side where the mainland and the isles seem to almost merge as one.  But trying to find out info on the band was a tough job until I eventually spotted there was a connection with The Trash Can Sinatras which led me to see if the excellent Five Hungry Joes website could help…and it did!!

Discogs was my initial port of call where I learned that Ostle Bay released one album, Love From Ostle Bay, on Play Records in 2002.  The first four singles on Play were the work of Johnson, described on Discogs as a British indie rock band who recorded at Shabby Road Studios. This latter snippet was invaluable as that was where Trash Can Sinatras did all their early work in Kilmarnock, a town some 25 minutes drive nowadays south-west of Glasgow.

Five Hungry Joes threw up this info:-

Johnson…were a moody sounding Nick Cave/Scott Walker-esque 5-piece fronted by Peter Rose – co-engineer on ‘Cake’ and also the main man behind ‘Ostle Bay’, a collaboration with TCS.

The first of their singles, ‘Tripping With The Moonlight’ was a limited 7-inch release of around 500 copies and was recorded and produced by Frank Reader at Shabby Road Studios in Kilmarnock.

The second single, ‘Savoury Body Show’ featured Stephen Douglas on drums and backing vocals. Limited to 500 copies this 7-inch release again, was recorded and produced by Frank Reader at Shabby Road…

Third single ‘Skin & Gold’ was again limited to 500 copies and features Stephen Douglas on drums. ‘Skin & Gold’ was recorded and produced by Frank Reader, whilst the B-side ‘Paradise’ was recorded by John Douglas, both at Shabby Road.

Love From Ostle Bay is the work of Peter Rose.

Peter Rose was co-engineer on the ‘Cake’ album and also fronted the band ‘Johnson’.

John, Paul and Stephen play on this album, as does Grant Wilson and ‘In The Music’ collaborator and long time associate, Jody Stoddart.

So basically, Ostle Bay was a talented sound engineer on vocals, backed by three of the four musicians who made up Trash Can Sinatras;  but from what I can gather, the album was recorded in Glasgow and not at Shabby Road.

I also found a singular on-line review of the album

“this is rather lovely – occasionally it wavers too close to “smooth AOR”/ bad kitchenware circa 1988 rip off territory, but then it suddenly sort of… clicks together and you realise that it’s actually far closer to something like edwyn collins/ animals that swim territory. some of the time. other bits still just pleasantly, boringly waft by in a sort of forgettable mug of scottish niceness but those *other* bits can be really strikingly lovely”

The song offered up by Phil was Track 2 on the album:-

mp3: Ostle Bay – Dusting The Sun

Over to anyone out there who can fill in the blanks.

JC

EMPIRES AND DANCE

It was 40 years ago this very month that Simple Minds released Empires and Dance, possibly the most un-Scottish of albums ever to be released by any world-famous Scottish band.

It’s an LP that saw Arista Records make a complete balls-up, failing to realise what Simple Minds had been progressively gearing up to over the previous 18 months, effectively dismissing it from the outset by pressing up just an initial 15,000 copies of the album and, once these had been cleared from the shelves of the record stores that had managed to obtain copies, choosing to press just a further 15,000 copies, making it difficult for many fans to find (although, to be fair, it wasn’t a big problem in Glasgow with all the shops, large and small having it on sale).

It was the culmination of an unhappy time with the label. The previous two albums, while critically acclaimed, hadn’t provided any great commercial success, while none of the singles had charted. The band was deeply in debt to the label, chiefly from the costs involved with touring, and in later years, the band members revealed that there were serious discussions around splitting-up to get out of the mess.

Luckily, other A&R folk were paying attention to Empires and Dance and realised that it contained songs which could be part of the changing scene in clubs, where ‘pure’ disco was increasingly giving way to electronica, especially the ‘heavier’ European-vibe with its co-reliance on great bass notes. And, while Empires and Dance is very much the work of the five-man collective, it is the contributions from Mick MacNeil on keyboards and Derek Forbes on bass that make it stand out. So, when Arista let the band go just four months after the album came out, the folk at Virgin Records pounced and, having agreed to a sum to pay off part of the debt to the old label, took the band on and put them firmly on the road to superstardom.

It is quite bemusing to look back and wonder why Arista made such a mess of things. The album opens up with the genuinely jaw-dropping I Travel, a song that I’ve previously said is a cross between disco-stomping Giorgio Moroder and early experimental Roxy Music (but played at 100mph!!), coming with an almighty punch in which every member of the band played/sang as if their very future existence depended on it.

It surely had hit single written all over it….but not on Arista’s watch in 1980. Indeed, the label only realised what they had missed out on a couple of years later when the cashed-in on the new-found success the band were enjoying and pushed out Celebration, an admittedly excellent 10-song compilation of material from the first three albums, with its b-side containing three tracks lifted from Empires and Dance together with a b-side from the I Travel single.

I Travel might be the cornerstone of Empires and Dance but there is so much more to the album, and I’ll crib from a review that can be found over at Julian Cope‘s Head Heritage website to illustrate:-

“Empires and Dance is their most European album- Bowie/Eno, Can, Kraftwerk, Neu!, Nite Flights, Fear of Music all appear to be influences. Opening single “I Travel” is like Trans Europe Express on speed…..a pulsing pop song that delivers on the influences of Kraftwerk and Moroder.

“Today I Died Again” has more in common with Magazine than U2- the lyrics in the same avenue as Ian Curtis ruminating on fascism (“Walked in Line”, “Dead Souls”) “The clothes he wears date back to some war…She can’t remember before this heat/He can’t remember his wife’s Christian name…Back to a year, back to a youth/Of men in church and drug cabarets…”- can’t help but think of films like Cabaret, The Damned, The Night Porter & Salon Kitty. Maybe The Tin Drum also?

“Celebrate” sounds like Chic producing Gary Numan, robo-funk at its finest; while This Fear of Gods pre-empts 23 Skidoo’s “Coup”- (the influence/sample for Chemical Brothers’ “Block Rockin Beats”) & the keyboards are very Trans Europe Express also. Epic stuff, though like a lot of great records, I haven’t got a clue what is being sung about.

“Capital City” and “Constantinople Line” continue the Europa themes, alienation and paranoia rule then- & this leads into “Twist/Run/Repulsion” – a series of oblique mantras (“Contort!”) over a female voice sample creating a track not far from those found on Eno/Byrne’s sampledelic-classic My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.

Even better is “Thirty Frames a Second”, which recalls the time-reversal themes of books like Counter-Clock World (Philip K Dick) & Time’s Arrow (Martin Amis) and musically is their most Krautrock inflected moment. Brief instrumental interlude “Kant-Kino” is very side 2 of Low, and segues into final track “Room” – the most melody-driven track here. Shimmering guitars, pulsing percussion & almost funky bass- pity it’s so brief though! This is the kind of song that would make music critics wet themselves if Primal Scream or Radiohead produced it now…”

I probably listen to Empires and Dance a couple of times a year at most, thus ensuring it retains its fresh and vibrant feeling.  My vinyl copy has long been trashed and I’ve made do with a CD version that was later issued by Virgin Records.  But, having now got myself that decent turntable again, I sought out a copy of the original vinyl via Discogs, one that was actually delivered by the postie on Saturday 12 September, which was 40 years to the very day that it was released.  These have been ripped from the album:-

mp3: Simple Minds – Today I Died Again
mp3: Simple Minds – This Fear Of Gods
mp3: Simple Minds – Thirty Frames A Second
mp3: Simple Minds – Room

Looking back, it’s head-scratching that none of these made it onto the ICA I pulled together back in May 2016…..

JC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #264 : THE SOUND

A GUEST POSTING by MARTIN ELLIOT

(OUR SWEDISH CORRESPONDENT)

I was surprised when I realised no one had done an ICA for The Sound, so I thought I’d give it a shot. After a while I started to think I’d drop it since I found it almost impossible to narrow it down to 10 songs. I decided to do strictly The Sound – no Second Layer, no Adrian Borland & The Citizens or other solo stuff however they would make a good complement, maybe that will be yet another ICA at some point.

The Sound, just as another of my all time favourites – The Associates, were vastly underrated, had a singer who tried a later solo career without much success and then left this planet way too early by his own doing. Both from Billy MacKenzie and Adrian Borland there have been a couple of albums worth of demos and almost complete recordings issued posthumously, and both singers and their respective bands have a small but very faithful following.

It must have been early 1981 I was introduced to The Sound by the song Missiles, and fell in love with it immediately. Remember though being in general disappointed by the album which I at the time thought of as bad quality recordings, with bad sound quality (no pun intended), and then not so long after I came across From The Lion’s Mouth which was utterly fantastic and I more or less forgot about Jeopardy (this was a semi-small Swedish town in the early 80’s, a lot of music came to us rather through friends (read chance) than by releases or radio play).

I didn’t need Jeopardy any longer (young and foolish) since I now had From The Lion’s Mouth, and also the next couple of releases followed me home upon their releases. After they broke up I lost touch for a while as I was in a period when music couldn’t get the attention I wanted. After a few years of silence on my part I decided to look back and get the Jeopardy album if nothing else so for having a complete collection, and realized I had been exactly that – young and foolish. Even if I still hold From The Lion’s Mouth as much better – in fact the peak in their recording career – Jeopardy has a bunch of great tracks. Some of them I had learned to appreciate from the live album In The Hothouse, just not thinking enough about it to realize they were from the debut…

Initially signed to Korova I guess they suffered from Echo & The Bunnymen taking all the record company’s energy, attention and marketing budget. After making at least some stir with From The Lion’s Mouth they moved up to parent company WEA and released All Fall Down, a pretty bleak affair – in more than one sense. The record company pushed for a more commercial record than the previous two, the band pushed back by recording a completely non-commercial record. Of course it fared poorly, both commercially and by the reception from critics and fans – and I still have issues taking it fully to my heart even if it has grown on me. There are moments, but in general I rank it as their weakest moment and it failed to get anything represented here. In several of the tracks I feel the drum machine programming is poor and comes up front creating a lifeless soundscape. Monument and Where The Love Is were close though.

Sacked by WEA they were picked up by Statik Records and the smaller, independent environment seemed to work much better for the band who returned with the excellent mini-LP Shock Of Daylight and the likewise mostly almost as positive (well…) and accessible Heads And Hearts LP before the label went bankrupt. Their final album, Thunder Up, was released on another independent label, the Belgian Play It Again Sam. By many seen as their best effort, including the band themselves, it was again met with enthusiasm from fans and critics but sold poorly and they split up in 1988. As mentioned above, around the time they broke up my attention to new music was heavily disturbed by conflicts of interest, so at the time I missed out on the two albums Adrian put out as Adrian Borland & The Citizens. I later got my act together, left a restraining relationship and found my passion for music again – and also the “solo” recordings by Adrian. They will however have to wait for their own ICA, which they absolutely deserve.

So here we go, The Sound – What Are We Going To Do (An ICA)

Side A:

1. Missiles – I had to start here, didn’t I? This is where it all started. After the bass guitar intro it builds into a furious anti-war song. “Who the hell makes those missiles?”. Anger distilled into a great song. (Jeopardy 1980)

2. Winning – All I needed to hear was the intro to know I had found something special, something that would follow me for a long time. At first I heard it as a pretty joyous and optimistic song being Adrian, taking revenge on and for yourself. “When you’re on the bottom, crawl back to the top”, but when you focus on the first verse you realize it’s more a desperate call for hope of getting back to something that once was good. (From The Lion’s Mouth 1981)

3. Total Recall – Dealing with the same subject matter as Winning, this again finds Adrian wrestling with the frustration you feel when your love doesn’t remember the good things you share from days gone. Clinging to the hope of getting back to joy in a relationship when the other one has given up. (Heads And Hearts 1985)

4. Dreams Then PlansShock Of Daylight probably represented the album WEA had wanted instead of All Fall Down, more accessible, more of a pop feel than earlier and partly more romantic, positive lyrics. Dreams Then Plans is a great example and as the last track of the album it did provide a natural bridge to the next album to come. (Shock Of Daylight 1984)

5. I Give You Pain – A song Robert Smith would have been very proud over, builds over a slow beginning to the pain of love played through the guitar work of Colvin Mayers. (Thunder Up 1987)

Side B:

1. One Thousand Reasons (7″ version) – Simply a beautiful take on the “should I stay or should I go”-subject. One thousand reasons to stay, one thousand reasons to come away. No answers, just doubt. (Heads And Hearts)

2. Sense Of Purpose – Musically a pretty straightforward rock song, lyrically a bit more demanding urging us all to use our brains, to have a heart, to move out of a secluded security and find a sense of purpose again. (From The Lion’s Mouth)

3. You’ve Got A Way – When you realize the one you broke away from was the one who could save you. (Thunder Up)

4. Hour Of Need – Loneliness defined, these slower tracks from The Sound have a capacity of incorporating subdued desperation – and I love it. (Jeopardy)

5. New Dark Age – Sadly still very valid, we have not learned a thing over the almost 40 years since this was released. The world has leaders on all continents displaying terrifying neglect to science, facts and justice – at times letting personal gain steer their agendas. We see it in the US, in Brazil, in Hungary, in Poland, in Russia, in China, in North Korea and so on – UK (England) have their share and Sweden as well. Scary, very scary. (From The Lion’s Mouth)

It has taken me well more than two months to finish this piece, the “a while” in my second sentence above almost became forever. I’d better click the send button now, I’m already regretting not finding room for songs like Total Recall and Kinetic

Enjoy The Sound of Music!

Martin

BURNING BADGER’S VINYL (Part 2) : TEENAGE FANCLUB

SWC has given me the green light to offer up some thoughts on two pieces of vinyl that the late and great Tim Badger had kept in two boxes, despite having been thought to have sold off his entire collection a few years earlier. These form the music that he couldn’t bear to part with.

1. The Concept – Teenage Fanclub (12″ single – Creation Records, Cre 111T, 1991)

Tim’s box contains the 12″ version, while a copy of the 7″ sits in a cupboard here in Villain Towers. The 12″ has four songs, two of which can be found on the 7″. There are 75 copies of the 12″ currently on offer via Discogs but just 9 copies of the 7″, so maybe the smaller vinyl is a bit harder to get a hold of. I know I picked mine up many years later as a second-hand purchase as 1991 was a time when money was a wee bit tight from the fact I was doing a daily commute from Glasgow to Edinburgh, the expense of which meant music purchases had to be scaled back, and I kept my money back to buy a copy of Bandwagonesque, on CD, which I know cost £13.49 from Tower Records as it still has the price sticker on it.

I’m thinking that when he bought the single, Tim could well have looked a bit like any of the band members in the picture above, what with their long hair and carefree attitude mirroring that of the majority of their young(ish) audience.  I was, as the commute mention above might indicate, already, in my late 20s, at an advanced stage of being part of the suit and tie brigade.

I bought Bandwagonesque on the back of the great press Teenage Fanclub were getting, buoyed by the fact that Tower Records were offering the purchaser the opportunity to return the CD and receive a full refund if having listened to it, you weren’t that happy. All of which means The Concept, as the album’s opening song, would be my introduction to the band. I was hooked within the opening 20 seconds, with a tune that sounded like something a very stoned Neil Young would have churned out at his peak with Crazy Horse. It was a long way from what I was anticipating but in a very good way. I laughed out loud at the ironic use of Status Quo in the opening line and the fact the tune could have passed for one of their 45s being played at LP speed on the turntable. I was charmed….

Having said that, I never really totally fell in love with TFC. There were parts of Bandwagonesque that I felt were a bit too shambolic and amateurish, but there was more than enough to make me want to keep the CD. The back catalogue was also a bit too raw in places for my liking, although there was no doubting the quality of Everything Flows and God Knows It’s True, two singles from 1990 issued by Paperhouse Records, which had been the debut single more than a year previously (and whose release had completely passed me by!). In due course, seeing the band in the live setting a few years later increasingly won me over, and over the years I’ve been lucky enough to catch them in some very small and intimate venues across Glasgow and Edinburgh.

I’m thinking that the 12″ version contains the full 6-minute version of the song, but to be on the safe side, I’ll also offer up the 7″ version in its edited form:-

mp3: Teenage Fanclub – The Concept
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – The Concept (7″ single)

And here’s the three b-sides which make up the 12″,

mp3: Teenage Fanclub – What You Do To Me (demo)
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Long Hair
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Robot Love

The first of these is another Norman Blake composition, the middle is by Gerry Love and the latter is a rare all-band effort. It’s an example of why I struggled to really take to the band to begin with, being a tad on the noisy and tuneless side, like a bad Nirvana outtake.

There were a few other tracks recorded during the sessions for Bandwagonesque which found their way out via other methods, including this piece of vinyl that Tim couldn’t part with.

2. Free Again/Bad Seeds (7″ single – K Records, IPU26, 1992)

TFC have never hidden their influences, citing many of them from early days in interviews and churning out cover versions and/or collaborations in due course. The Bandwagonesque sessions also saw them have a stab at a song by Big Star (an early 70s band from Memphis, Tennessee) and another by Beat Happening (an early 80s band from Olympia, Washington). I think it’s fair to say that neither act had really gone beyond cult status in the UK by the time TFC had formed and were recording, but their continued support, and willingness to acknowledge how much of an influence they had been, led to a greater level of interest, particularly for Big Star who would reform again in 1993, who attracted ever-increasing attention and fan numbers, touring extensively until the death of frontman Alex Chilton, at the age of 59, from heart failure.

These tracks sneaked their way out with K Records, an independent record label based in Olympia, Washington whose founder, Calvin Johnson, was part of Beat Happening, one of whose songs was on the release.

Both tracks would also later find their way onto Deep Fried Fanclub, a rarities compilation album by TFC that was issued in 1995 when the band was arguably at the height of their commercial period, with the album Grand Prix going Top 10 in the UK. I’ve long been familiar with Free Again as Jacques the Kipper included it on a C90 tape he put together many many years ago, but Bad Seeds is a new one for me. And it’s a belter, sounding as if the boys are channeling their inner Cramps.

mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Free Again
mp3: Teenage Fanclub – Bad Seeds

TFC are still going strong, despite the departure of Gerry Love a while back, with him being replaced as a band member by Euros Childs, best known as the frontman of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci. I’m far from alone in not being able to bring myself to go see this new inception of the band as Gerry was such an integral part of their sound, and to the credit of the remaining members, they have made it clear they wouldn’t be comfortable having any of his songs performed by a different singer, be that Norman, Raymond or Euros. It just wouldn’t be the same……

I’m just sorry that I can’t personalise the pieces in the same way and you’ll be pleased to learn that SWC will be up next with Parts 3 and 4 of the series, after which I will be boring you silly again. There’s a lot of quality music still to be pulled out of Badger’s Boxes.

JC

ONE OF JUST THREE TOP 10 SINGLES

The others were Rocks (#7 in 1994) and Country Girl (#5 in 2003) with the latter being the most successful, charts-wise, of all the Primal Scream 45s.

Kowlaski was released in May 1995 and reached #8. It came out a couple of months before the band’s fifth studio album, Vanishing Point. It was an instant hit here in Villain Towers:-

mp3: Primal Scream – Kowalski

I’m happy to pass on the info that the song is named after the main character of Vanishing Point, a 1971 road movie which, although critically panned at the time of its release, has since obtained cult status.

The CD single came with two rockin’-out cover versions, one of which saw the old punks rise up in anger, but to be fair(ish), Bobby & Co. make it sound like one of their own rather than a Clash number (not that I’m defending it as it’s pretty sore on the ears, sounding as if an act like Lynard Skynard had got their hands on it):-

mp3: Primal Scream – 96 Tears
mp3: Primal Scream – Know Your Rights

Thankfully, the CD closes with an excellent remix of the single:-

mp3: Primal Scream – Kowalski (Automator Mix)

JC

THE MONDAY MORNING HI-QUALITY VINYL RIP : Part Two : A NEW ENGLAND

Many thanks for such great and supportive feedback to the first installment of this new feature.  The suggestions that have been made will feature in coming weeks, but for today I want to focus on a song that is very dear to me.

I don’t think anyone will disagree with my proposal that A New England is a classic.  Written in late 1982/early 1983, it has always been one of the most popular of Billy Bragg songs, one that gets as loud a cheer as any when he plays it live.

It’s a song that came to wider public attention back when Kirsty MacColl covered it and took it all the way to #7 in the UK charts in the early months of 1985.

Wiki tells the story quite accurately:-

The opening lines of the song (“I was 21 years when I wrote this song/I’m 22 now, but I won’t be for long”) are identical to the opening lines of Paul Simon’s song “Leaves that Are Green”, which appears on Simon and Garfunkel’s 1966 album Sounds of Silence. During a concert in Winnipeg, Canada on 27 September 2006, Bragg stated Simon and Garfunkel had a strong influence on him and that he took the line from their song intentionally.

Bragg has said the song had its origins in seeing two satellites flying alongside each other. Searching for romantic inspiration, he had to make do with “space hardware”. He told a BBC interviewer he “stole” the melody from Thin Lizzy’s “Cowboy Song”

Kirsty MacColl recorded the song the year after its release by Bragg. Her version was produced by her then-husband Steve Lillywhite. Entering the UK chart in 1985, it was her biggest solo hit, reaching number 7 in the UK Singles Chart and number 8 in the Irish Singles Chart.

Bragg’s original version of the song had only two verses. MacColl thought the song was too short, and so Bragg wrote a further two verses for her which she consolidated into one. Since MacColl’s death, Bragg has included the additional verse in performances of the song as a tribute.

The recording of “A New England” was the first collaboration between MacColl and her husband Steve Lillywhite on one of her own solo recordings.

MacColl first discovered Bragg in 1983 when she went to see one of his live performances. One of the songs Bragg played was “A New England”, which MacColl immediately identified as having hit potential. MacColl told Smash Hits in 1985: “I always thought ‘A New England’ would be great with loads of harmonies, it’s such a good melody. Billy does it in a very rough way, and it’s like a busker doing a really good Beatles song. She added to Gilbert Blecken in 1994: “I knew the song was fantastic, but [Bragg’s] version was just the skeleton of the song, so I wanted to dress it up.”

I bought the single on, or very shorty after, the day it was released, without ever hearing it, which is why my copy has the quite rare ‘bombsite’ cover on the front of the sleeve rather than on the reverse.  The purchase was on the basis that I was a Billy Bragg fan who had enjoyed previous singles by Kirsty MacColl, so there was very little that really could go wrong.  The piece on vinyl has remained a favourite ever since, with it now being quite poignant given the tragic and horrific death of Kirsty back in 2000.  I’ve also managed to take good enough care of the vinyl that It remains free from cracks and hisses.

Credit does have to go to both Kirsty for the way she re-interpreted the song, turning it into a bonafide pop classic while keeping the innocence and charm that was such a hallmark of the original, and to Steve Lillywhite whose deft and crisp production has ensured the song hasn’t dated.

mp3: Kirsty MacColl – A New England (extended version)

The 12″ version is almost eight minutes long, with a very lengthy fade-out.  I trust this 320kbps rip meets with your collective approval.

JC

THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF R.E.M. (Part 15)

And so, The Robster having offered up his thoughts on the breakthrough hits, decides that this is the week he needs a rest and hands the baton to me for a song that every single member of R.E.M. detests with a passion. A song that would eventually reach #6 in the UK singles chart – a position higher than any of the next 14 singles would manage to achieve!!

That last sentence alone tells you all you really need to know about Shiny Happy People; in short, it proved to be an R.E.M. song for people who don’t like R.E.M.

mp3: R.E.M. – Shiny Happy People

It was released on 6 May 1991. Losing My Religion was still hovering on the fringes of the Top 75 and, if anything, was enjoying even more daytime radio play than before. Out of Time had already gone into the album charts at #1 on its first week of release. The decision not to tour and rely increasingly on television appearances/performances was also working a treat, as those who were now finally latching onto the band were mopping up everything on mainstream and specialist channels. MTV, in particular, were all over things.

It made perfect sense for Warner Bros to go with something that was tailor-made for radio, especially on warm and hot summer days when people would flock to beaches and parks, complete with their fast-melting ice-creams, looking for that bit of escapism and enjoyment. Shiny Happy People offered the perfect soundtrack, helped too by the goofy, colourful and incredibly cheery promo that was made for it. It’s no surprise that it entered the UK charts in May and stayed there till the end of July.

The video looks and feels like something from a children’s TV show, which is perfect as itthe song could easily pass as a nursery rhyme, with all concerned (except Peter Buck who clearly wishes he was somewhere else) eager enough to deploy over-exaggerated movements and facial expressions. The band may have since tried to disown the whole thing, but the dancing, handclapping and smiling during the promo make me think they doth protest too much.

One of the reasons put forward to back the idea that it was hated from the outset is that it was never played live in concert and it was left off most of the subsequent greatest-hits collections. But think about it – the strings are essential to the sound of the song and therefore it would be impossible to play as is in the live setting*. Nor was it one that could be easily adapted to fit in with the acoustic sets that were to the fore in the early 90s.

*The Robster kindly offered up a correction when I shared an advance draft of this post. R.E.M. did perform Shiny Happy People live – just the once – on Saturday Night Live in the States. And as he also said, nobody should ever forget the version they did for Sesame Street a few years later, Furry Happy Monsters, in which Peter Buck very nearly cracks a tiny smile, you’ll see a Kate Pierson muppet, and if you don’t smile at the clip, you have a heart of stone.

I think Shiny Happy People is a fabulous and memorable pop single. I also accept that in 1991, it was something which horrified many long-time fans who couldn’t quite believe what they were hearing and seeing. And I’d been there folks….listening to and watching Johnny Marr play with Bryan Ferry on The Right Stuff had been excruciating.

But, on the other hand, I’d long been a fan of the B52s and the guest vocal from Kate Pierson is an absolute joy.

The Robster made mention last week of the multi-formatting that existed around Losing My Religion, and it was much the same for the follow-up which came out on 7″, 12″, CD and cassette.

mp3: R.E.M. – Forty Second Song

This was common to all the releases. It’s another real oddity – it’s 82 seconds long and it sounds like an unfinished demo that the band couldn’t work up into anything more substantial. The folk who loved the a-side probably played it once and ignored it thereafter. Any long-time fans who were hoping for something more substantial to justify shelling out on the new single to keep the collection going wouldn’t have been surprised by it.

mp3: R.E.M. – Losing My Religion (live acoustic version)

As found on the 12″ and CD single. I reckon making this available also had a lot to do with the high sales for Shiny Happy People as the world had gone insane for any take on Losing My Religion.

Again, as with the previous single, a ‘Collector’s Edition’ Cd was released about a week after the initial product had hit the shops and it again came with three live songs, recorded during the Green tour.

mp3: R.E.M. – I Remember California (live)
mp3: R.E.M. – Get Up (live)
mp3: R.E.M. – Pop Song ’89 (live)

There would be two more singles from Out of Time…..both will be looked at by myself with the next being a 45 that wasn’t issued in the USA; as Jonny said the other week, Americans have never really paid much attention to singles while it’s a whole different story over here as my bulging shelves of old vinyl and CDs can testify.

JC

The Robster adds a bonus for the completists.  The only live performance of the song:-

mp3: R.E.M. – Shiny Happy People (live, SNL)

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #229 : OSCAR IN VENICE

This week’s offering is one of the most unusual and unique bits of music that I’ve ever featured on the blog.

The man pictured above is David Scott, who is best known from his involvement with the Glasgow-based band The Pearlfishers, which is a story I’ll return in due course when this alphabetical run-through of Scottish singers/bands whose work features in the vinyl/CD collection at Villain Towers reaches that particular act.

For now, let me quote the man himself from an interview he gave to a London-based blogger from Turkey back in 2007:-

“I’ve been a professional musician since 1984. In that time I’ve worked with major record labels and major publishers. I produced records for major labels as well and also for indie labels, my band is called The Pearlfishers. We’ve made 8 albums and currently making a 9th and a 10th at the same time. We released those records on an independent label based in Hamburg but I’ve also released records in Japan, in America and over Europe. I’m a broadcaster I make programs about music for BBC. I’m a community music practitioner at the same time. For the last 10 years I’ve been an academic, I’m teaching songwriting and composition in university.

The Hamburg-based independent label he refers to is Marina Records, a number of whose releases I’ve picked up over the years. In 2018, the label released Goosebumps, an anthology to celebrate 25 years in the business, with a fair number of the tracks being previously unreleased cuts, with one example being a David Scott composed instrumental, which is just a shade over two minutes in length:-

mp3: Oscar In Venice – Go For A Walk In The Woods

There’s no info within the Goosebumps booklet other than it is a previously unreleased piece of music written and produced by David Scott. My efforts to find out anything else across t’internet have drawn a blank as it appears to be the only available piece of music ever made available under this particular moniker, so I can’t even tell you from when it dates from or the name of the youngster who adds the spoken contribution.

JC

THE BIG HITS…..30 YEARS ON (9)

Sunday 2 September 1990.  It’s a day when the music sitting atof the top of the charts, along with the various new entries into the Top 75, exemplifies the weirdness of that particular year. It’s worth listing the Top 20 in full, especially as none of the songs were new entries

1. ITSY BITSY TEENY WEENY YELLOW POLKA DOT BIKINI – BOMBALURINA
2. FOUR BACHARACH AND DAVID SONGS (EP) – DEACON BLUE
3. WHERE ARE YOU BABY? – BETTY BOO
4. GROOVE IS IN THE HEART – DEEE-LITE
5. TONIGHT – NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
6. THE JOKER – THE STEVE MILLER BAND
7. WHAT TIME IS LOVE? – KLF
8. NAKED IN THE RAIN – BLUE PEARL
9. RHYTHM OF THE RAIN – JASON DONOVAN
10. PRAYING FOR TIME – GEORGE MICHAEL
11. CAN CAN YOU PARTY – JIVE BUNNY AND THE MASTERMIXERS
12. SILHOUETTES – CLIFF RICHARD
13. LISTEN TO YOUR HEART – ROXETTE
14. VISION OF LOVE – MARIAH CAREY
15. TOM’S DINER – DNA FEATURING SUZANNE VEGA
16. TURTLE POWER – PARTNERS IN KRYME
17. I’M FREE – SOUP DRAGONS FEATURING JUNIOR REID
18. U CAN’T TOUCH THIS – MC HAMMER
19. END OF THE WORLD – SONIA
20. KING OF WISHFUL THINKING – GO WEST

It would have made for fairly depressing listening as the DJ in question revealed the latest rundown on BBC Radio 1 from 5pm onwards, with the Top 20 played in its entirety, prior to which any new entries into the Top 40 and significant movers would also be aired, all of which would have meant a very rare peak time radio play for one of the UK’s biggest cult acts, for coming in at #34 was this:-

Get Me Out – New Model Army

NMA had been around for ten years, and with them constantly switching the type of music they were recording and performing, they had been impossible for the critics to pin down into a particular genre. They are still on the go some thirty years on and causing the same grief! From the outset, they had attracted a highly dedicated fan following which having eventually morphed into ‘The Family’ whose numbers ensured the band would be guaranteed the live shows would always be successful, albeit this didn’t always transfer into huge sales on vinyl/CD. Get Me Out was their tenth successive single to make the Top 75, and like the others, it would come into the charts somewhere in the region of 31-50 before immediately dropping out, all down to ‘The Family’ making the initial purposes.

And that, unless there is a guest posting, will likely be the only mention of New Model Army on the blog (albeit they will get a further mention in this series in a couple of months time).

There were some other interesting entries in the chart this week, from acts that are no strangers to the pages of TVV.

Iceblink Luck – Cocteau Twins (#39)
Rollercoaster – The Jesus and Mary Chain (#46)
White Lightning – The Fall (#56)

Cocteau Twins would hang around that position in the charts for another couple of weeks but the other two dropped out almost immediately. I don’t think either song would have given mainstream exposure. Worth mentioning in passing the next again JAMC single, released in February 1992, would be Reverance. And in reaching #10 would give the band its biggest ever success in terms of a single. Oh, and yet again it’s a cover that brings a bit of chart success the way of The Fall.

The other new entries came courtesy of Adamski (The Space Jungle – #23), Caron Wheeler (Livin’ In The Light – #29), Janet Jackson (Black Cat – #32), Faith No More (Epic (1990 re-release) – #35), Quireboys (There She Goes Again – #51), Dan Reed Network (Lover – #52), Grand Plaz (Wow Wow, Na Na – #58) and Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Higher Ground (1990 re-release) – #59).

Down at the lower end of the new entries were a couple of bangers, included here as I know at least a couple of regular readers will remember them

Hard Up – Awesome 3 (#64)
Dance Dance – Deskee (#74)

In acknowledgment of the fact you’ve been asked to spend a lot of time getting this far, I’m going to have a race through each of the remaining four charts in September 1990. There’s also the fact that the latter part of the month has a lot of singles of great interest…….

September 9: New Entries

Suicide Blonde – Inxs (#16)
Show Me Heaven – Maria McKee (#26)
Nothing To Lose – S’Express (#40)
Empty World- Dogs D’Amour (#63)
Way Down Now – World Party (#66)
Summer In Siam – The Pogues (#67)
You Don’t Love Me – Jagged Edge (#71)
Greenbank Drive – The Christians (#72)
Pain Killer – Judas Priest (#74)

I’ll mention in passing that those of us who had seen or listened to Lone Justice in previous years quite stunned but secretly pleased that Maria McKee was finally coming to the attention of a wider public. Just a pity it proved to be a one-off with a song whose video was packed with scenes from the latest Tom Cruise blockbuster.

Many of the other new entries this week reflect what I had been mentioning a few months back in that the music of the clubs and fields was moving into the mainstream

Tunes Splits The Atom – MC Tunes vs 808 State (#44)
Burundi Blues – Beats International (#56)
Sunrise – Movement 98 (#62)

The first of these would eventually go Top 20.

The Stone Roses also made a re-appearance in the charts at #32 with Fool’s Gold, just seven months after it had previously dropped out of the charts, albeit the radio stations were now spinning the other side of the single, What The World Is Waiting For.

The final mention for 9 September goes to this:-

Timeless Melody – The La’s

It had been two years since There She Goes had been released, and it was a period when The La’s were being talked up as the next great British indie-guitar bands. It would transpire that the intervening period had seen singer/songwriter Lee Mavers recording and re-recording their intended debut album, with a constantly changing band line-up and all sorts of would-be producers coming and going. Timeless Melody was the first of the new material and rather worryingly for all concerned, #57 was as high as it got. Things would, however, improve, before the year was out.

September 16: New Entries

Holy Smoke – Iron Maiden (#3)
Thunderstruck – AC/DC (#16)

Yup, the heavy metal brigade were out in force this week with the two highest new entries. Further down the charts, there was a smattering of pop hits from Monie Love (It’s A Shame – #35), River City People (What’s Wrong With Dreaming – #40), Bell Biv Devoe (Do Me! – #56) and Sinitta (Love and Affection – #62)

For the most part, however, a mix of indie and dance was showing the way:-

Then – The Charlatans (#19)
Cult of Snap! – Snap! (#21)
I Can’t Stand It – Twenty4Seven feat. Captain Hollywood (#28)
Make It Mine – The Shamen (#42)
Rock and Roll Nigger – Birdland (#47)
Omen – Orbital (#52)
You’re Walking – Electribe 101 (#54)

I’m guessing the Birdland cover would get into a spot of bother these days……but then again, Patti Smith does seem to get a free pass over such things.

September 23: New Entries

This was the week that Maria McKee began a four-week stay at the top of the charts, by which time Lone Justice fans were hiding away copies of the old albums….

The power of the gogglebox can be demonstrated by the fact that a new entry this week, at #16 (but it would eventually reach #2!!!) was Blue Velvet by Bobby Vinton.  I had assumed it had something to do with it soundtracking the David Lynch film of the same name, but that was a 1986 release.  Instead, it had been used as the music for an advert for face cream and there had been enough public demand for it to be re-released and become a hit, a full 37 years on.  Its things like this that make me wish we had the American approach to singles in that they really don’t matter (but then again, my cupboard full of vinyl would be quite sparse).

The metal boys were still having a field day with Megadeath (Holy Wars….The Punishment Due – #24), Thunder – She’s So Fine (#38) and Slaughter (Coming Back For More #62).  There were also a fair number of new pop hits, far too many to mention even in passing, so it’s straight to the indie/dance/established alternative efforts

Never Enough – The Cure (#15)
World In My Eyes – Depeche Mode (#28)
Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me) – The Wedding Present (#29)
Dreams Burn Down – Ride (#34)
Heaven (1990 version) – The Chimes (#36)
I’ve Got You Under My Skin – Neneh Cherry (#45)

The Wedding Present and Ride tracks were songs from the Three EP and the Fall EP respectively. It also led to a rare appearance on Top of The Pops for Gedge & co. Neneh Cherry‘s excellent single was the taster for the album Red Hot + Blue, a compilation album on which a wide range of contemporary singers and bands offered up their take on songs written by Cole Porter. The album would go on to sell more than a million copies worldwide and raise substantial sums for the Red Hot Organisation, a charity that had been established to fight AIDS.

September 30: New Entries

Yup…. a five week month (but look on the bright side, each of October and November will have just four weeks). It was also a quieter week for new entries, helped by the fact that none of the metal bands chose to release any singles!

The highest new entry belonged to a duo whose impending new album was their first new material in two years, having dominated the UK charts in the second half of the 80s

So Hard – Pet Shop Boys (#4)

Elsewhere, chart regulars such as Technotronic (Megamix – #12), MC Hammer (Have You Seen Her – #15), Mica Paris (Contribution – #43), Phil Collins (Hang In Long Enough – #47), Paul Simon (The Obvious Child – #61) and Paul Young (Heaven Can Wait – #72) were polluting the atmosphere.

A few others to mention.

A Little Time – The Beautiful South (#30)

Paul Heaton and Dave Hemingway had caught a few folk by surprise with the change of direction after the break-up of The Housemartins, enjoying three hit singles and a #1 debut album in 1989. The first of the new material quietly entered the charts at #30 and two weeks later it was at #1.

Right Here, Right Now – Jesus Jones (#37)
Good Morning Britain – Aztec Camera feat Mick Jones (#52)

Two songs that would become staples of the ‘indie’ compilations that would flood the shops as the decade wore on.

And that concludes a bumper edition of this series, with 27 songs on offer, most of which had to be sought from outside the collection.  It took a fair bit of time and I’m glad this particular project is nearing an end.

JC
(aged 57 years and 3 months)

 

YOU SAY TOMATO……

Kind of inspired by yesterday’s mention of Mack The Knife, here’s what wiki has to say about today’s featured song:-

“Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” is a song written by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin for the 1937 film Shall We Dance, where it was introduced by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as part of a celebrated dance duet on roller skates. The music sheet is annotated with the word “Brightly”. The song is most famous for its “You like tomato /təˈmeɪtə/ / And I like to-mah-to /təˈmɑːtə/” and other verses comparing British and American English accent.

The differences in pronunciation are not simply regional, however, but serve more specifically to identify class differences. At the time, typical American pronunciations were considered less “refined” by the upper-class, and there was a specific emphasis on the “broader” a sound. This class distinction with respect to pronunciation has been retained in caricatures, especially in the theater, where the longer a pronunciation is most strongly associated with the word darling.

I’ve a 7″ AA single sitting in the cupboard with a version almost faithfully recorded by Martin Stephenson and Cathal Coughlan.  I’m sure I picked it up at a gig in 1990, quietly pleased that two of my favourite singers at the time had come together for what surely would have been a fun day in the studio. Not actually owning a working turntable at the time meant that I didn’t actually hear the version for a while – not until 1992 when it was included as an extra track on CD1 of Big Sky, New Light, a single by Martin Stephenson and The Daintees.

mp3: Martin Stephenson/Cathal Coughlan – Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off

I had long anticipated that the same version of the song was on both sides of the vinyl, or perhaps the duo had reversed roles with Cathal singing the lines Martin has sung on the A side.  I hadn’t really paid too much attention to the fact that the A side was produced by Mickey Watson (an occasional Daintee) and Martin Stephenson, but that the AA side was credited to Satan O’Sullivan.  I should have known better than to think the Microdisney/Fatima Mansions frontman would have played it straight:-

mp3: Cathal Coughlan/Martin Stephenson – Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off

This one will probably drive most of you bonkers, maybe switching it off after no more than 45 seconds.  There’s all sorts of things going on during its four minutes but not much in the way of singing, nor a suggestion that Martin Stephenson was even involved, but there is a section when the notes that make up the National Anthem of Ireland can be heard.

You say bananas, I say it’s genius.

JC

 

A STAPLE OF THE 80s b/w A BIZARRE CHOICE OF COVER

It was back in 1981 that The Psychedelic Furs released their fifth single in the UK, and the third lifted from their sophomore album Talk Talk Talk:-

mp3: The Psychedelic Furs – Pretty In Pink

It’s a gem of a 45, one that was tailor-made for radio and had smash hit written all over it.  But despite the best efforts of all concerned at the record-label, including the gimmick of a free t-shirt included in the initial copies of the 12″ version, it stalled at #43, ensuring that the band, for now, wouldn’t get much beyond cult status and their tours would continue to be at the lower end of the scale, capacity-wise.

There was a very unusual choice of cover song for the b-side:-

mp3: The Psychedelic Furs – Mack the Knife

Written by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for their 1928 music drama The Threepenny Opera, it is one of those songs that had been much recorded by pop/jazz singers since it had been translated, in 1954, by Marc Blitzstein for an off-Broadway staging of the show. Louis Armstrong is credited with the initial popularity while Bobby Darin took it the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic in 1959.

To be fair to the Furs, their gothic interpretation is quite distant from the chirpy version that had been such a massive hit, with their take being more aligned to the fact that it’s a lyric about a serial killer.

Here’s the third song that was made available on the 12″, together with the free t-shirt:-

mp3: The Psychedelic Furs – Soap Commercial

It is no wonder, listening to this track, which was lifted from the band’s debut album that had been released in 1980, that so many critics lumped The Furs in with the likes of The Cure, The Banshees and Bauhaus.

Fast forward five years and the Hollywood director John Hughes decides to make a movie entitled Pretty In Pink, for which he asked the band to record a new version of the song that had helped inspire the story:-

mp3: The Psychedelic Furs – Pretty In Pink (remix)

This one went all the way to #18 in the UK charts and remains the band’s best performance in that regard. It’s a hit that has long proved to have caused a bit of angst in the Furs camp, as this recent press interview with lead singer Richard Butler reveals:-

“He (John Hughes) made it to be literally about a girl that was wearing a pink dress and it wasn’t about that at all. It was about a rather unfortunate girl.

“Me saying pretty in pink meant somebody who is naked. It was a metaphor and he got the wrong end of the stick.

“Given that, the movie did us a lot of good. It was a double-edged sword because it increased our audience but a lot of people that were the darker set of our fans thought: ‘It’s a ‘Brat Pack’ movie scene now and we are not really into that.’”

I think it’s a bit disingenuous, however, not to reflect that Butler & co. were party to an abomination of a remix that had more to do with alienating the long-term fans than the fact it was now linked to a hit movie.

JC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #263 : QUICKSPACE

A GUEST POSTING by SWC

About twelve years ago Tim Badger, after a desperate plea from his wife, apparently sold his entire vinyl collection to a bloke called Roy who lived in Plymouth. Roy paid him £5000 for it, which he handed to him in a grubby white envelope. Badger used the money to buy a new sofa, two wardrobes, an expensive dining set and a set of wheels for his wife’s road bike. On one drunken night out in Exeter, Badger admitted that he actually cried when Roy’s Volvo reversed out of the cul de sac where he used to live and drove away with his vinyl. Considering I know for a fact that there was at least one Nik Kershaw record in the back of that Volvo I would imagine it was tears of joy.

Fast forward twelve years and to the first Wednesday in September 2020. My wife, daughter and I have just been to lunch at Mrs Badgers. She is doing well Mrs B, the happiest I’ve seen her since, well, since I dropped her and Tim off at the airport a few years ago. She even baked me a cake that met my vegan tendencies (Lime and Coconut) and didn’t once mock me for ‘eating quinoa’.

As we are leaving, Mrs Badger tells me that she has something for me, and she walks off to the garage and opens the door. She tells me to look in the two red and two boxes behind the old wardrobe. Which I do. They are full of records and CDs. There are at least one hundred pieces of vinyl and about 50 CDs. I recognise most of the CDs from Tim and my charity shop excursions but the vinyl is new to me…

“He would have wanted you to have them”, Mrs Badger says with a smile, there are tears in her eyes. Then she breaks with convention and hugs me, which is nine weeks of social distancing out of the window. My wife is smiling at me, she knew….she definitely knew….

I can’t say no. I can’t tell her that I don’t have the room for a hundred pieces of vinyl and some (more) boxes of CDs. I bend down and look at the records, there are some great records in here, I think to myself. I look at Mrs Badger, and say “I thought he sold….” She looks at me and tells me that, these were the ones he didn’t want to sell, records that he loved, “although” she says with a smile “I’m not sure why that’s in there?” pointing at a Cast 7” (Its ‘Alright’ on blue vinyl and he kept that very quiet).

I wasn’t supposed to be writing anymore, I told myself at the end of the 45 @ 45 series that my days of blogging and guest contributing was over (if the truth be told, I’m supposed to be moving abroad, but Covid has sort of shot that idea in the leg). But here I am, with the first of 100 or so seriously good records that belonged to my best friend, in my hand, and its sort of tradition that when I’m given a box of music that I write about it, right… (please agree with me…)?

So, preamble over….the first record out of the box is ‘Quickspace’ by Quickspace, A record I already own as it happens, but this is a beautiful looking album. It has a green-y coloured card sleeve with holes in it that reveal the tracklisting on the inner sleeve which is a lovely kind of orange and red colour. It was released on the Kitty Kitty Corporation in 1996 (Choosy 6). There are actually three Quickspace records in the box and I had no idea that Badger held them in such high regard and as such it seems only fitting that we start with an ICA.

For those in the dark, Quickspace formed in 1994 and were called back then Quickspace Supersport. They were formed by Tom Cullinan from the ashes of Th’ Faith Healers. They play a sort of ramblingly excellent lo-fi indie krautrock. In 1996 they ditched the Supersport (and replaced three members of the original line up) and became just Quickspace.

Some of these recordings are taken from records that have sat in a garage for the best part of two years, so they might sound a bit scratchy, but hey its lo-fi indie, its authentic, right…?

SIDE ONE

Friends (Single) (1996) (Choosy 4)

Anyone want a random drummer fact…thought not, but here is one anyway. In 1996, Quickspace unveiled a new drummer. His name was ‘Chin’. He didn’t have a surname. He plays the drums on this, the band’s first record as ‘Quickspace’. A feisty three and a half minutes of lo-fi indie brilliance which was adored by John Peel and featured somewhere in the top half of the 1996 Festive Fifty. It’s easy to see why.

7 Like That (Taken from ‘Precious Falling’) (1998) (Choosy 13)

The second Quickspace Album was a seventy-minute krautrock classic called ‘Precious Falling’. It’s another stunning looking record, the vinyl version has a gatefold sleeve with a lovely tree drawing on it. Musically I think it’s their finest hour and ten minutes, it’s an album in which the band added more depth to songs which were perhaps a bit simple before. ‘7 Like That’ is one of three or four tracks on this album that are irresistible slabs of tweaky indie pop.

Song for NME (Taken from ‘Suposport’) (1997) (Choosy 11)

In 1997 Quickspace released a compilation album ‘Suposport’ which packaged together all the band releases before Supersport was dropped from the name. The final track on that album is this little gem. ‘Song For NME’ is a slightly faster version of the previously released ‘Song For Someone’ but it was recorded especially for the then-popular weekly music rag and whilst we are on the subject, this is the greatest track to have ever featured that music rag in its title – even better than Thee Headcoats ‘(We Hate The) Fuckin NME’. That good, folks.

The band also recorded it again for especially for John Peel (and called it ‘Song for BBC’) and that makes it doubly brilliant.

Scubaplus (Take from ‘Superplus’ EP) (1995) (Domino Records RUG40T)

The third and final Quickspace Supersport Single was ‘Superplus’. The lead track was a 14 minute Krautrock epic. The band then dissected the track into three additional stems called ‘Proplus’, ‘Scubaplus’ and ‘Standard 8’.

Fundamentally it’s the same track just with a different emphasis on each track, which sounds pretentious but definitely isn’t. ‘Scubaplus’ is the best moment on it if you ask me, largely because it has some cool underwater effects on it but also because it is basically the sound of a bunch NEU! fans trying to be NEU!

Hadid (Single) (1998) (Choosy 11)

‘Hadid’ is a lovely little track that I think pays homage to the bands drummer at the time ‘Chin’. He was only supposed to be a temporary drummer and left the band before the release of ‘Precious Falling’. ‘Hadid’ is again a spiky little indie-pop gem that nestles itself into your ears and sits there snugly until bedtime.

Side Two

Rise (Single) (1996) (Choosy 5)

In the autumn of 1996 when the world was going crazy for bands like Northern Uproar, Quickspace released the follow up to ‘Friends’. The band had apparently turned down several substantial offers from various record companies and decided to stay fiercely independent on their own Kitty Kitty Corporation label (well in the UK at least). The result of that decision was ‘Rise’ another five-minute blast of indie drone rock. I happen to think it’s the best single that they ever released.

Quickspace Happy Song #2 (From ‘Precious Falling’) (1998)

This kind of sums up everything I love about bands like Quickspace (and perhaps Ligament and Novak as well). The fact that stayed independent kind of meant that they could release what they liked when they liked. They could name songs the same thing but changed a number at the end (see also ‘Song For…’). Which is what they did here. In June 1998, the released this as part of the ‘Precious Little EP’ a song that they described as being only the second happy song that they had ever written. Hence ‘Quickspace Happy Song Number Two’. The EP version is slightly different from the album version, but I don’t have it so the album version will have to do (I think its eight seconds longer).

Precious Mountain (Single) (1997) (Choosy 10)

I bought this on 12” when I was still a student. We had some decks set up in the lounge of our house (we were students, come on) and I remember sticking this on at some ungodly hour on a Saturday morning just annoy my housemates. Cue one of them, Irish Mike (who was not actually Irish) strolling into the lounge picking up the sleeve, and calling me a pretentious prick. I raised an eyebrow, sipped my cup of Lapsang Souchong and muttered “Pretentious, moi?” as the fourth minute of this cowboy influenced slab of Krautrock throbbed away behind me.

Do It My Own Way ( This version From ‘Suposport’) (1997)

‘Do It My Own Way’ was the B Side to the bands slightly chaotic 1995 debut single ‘Found A Way’. If you ask me, the band got it the wrong way round. ‘Do It Your Own Way’ is miles better and miles more radio-friendly than it’s A-Side, which is probably exactly why the band stuck it on the B Side. It also houses one of the catchiest choruses the band ever recorded.

Goodbye Precious Mountain (From ‘Precious Falling’) (1998)

A long time ago I wrote about this song and the morning after a party where I sat in a room and listened to this song whilst chaos involving a straggler unfurled two rooms away. It was a long story and I won’t repeat it now, but ‘Goodbye Precious Mountain’ is extraordinarily brilliant. An epic adventure of a tune that unfolds like it was written to play on the closing credits of a blockbuster movie. One where at the end only the hero and a significant other are left on the screen in a desert or windy moor and slowly the camera pans up and away from them as the strings sweep away majestically.

SWC

JC adds…….

I had no idea that SWC’s recent contributions via his 45 45s @ 45 series had intended to be his swansong, albeit I knew he was highly preoccupied with the possibility of moving abroad to live and work and thus wasn’t too concerned when he hadn’t been in touch in recent weeks.  I’m surely not alone in being delighted that he has decided to write a little bit more and so today’s ICA also marks what will be Part One of Burning Badgers Vinyl, yet another new and occasional feature on the blog.

Here’s the wee kicker……it’s going to be a joint venture from myself and SWC as I’m going to be afforded the opportunity to offer up some words on some of the vinyl/CDs that were in the red and blue boxes, albeit it will be on songs/bands with which I have a passing knowledge (I couldn’t have offered anything at all on today’s band, but in passing, I’ll say that I enjoyed (mostly!!) acquainting myself with the songs, especially the ICA closer which is reminiscent of a Tindersticks instrumental).

It’s a real honour to have been asked and I just hope I can do the series justice.  Watch this space…..

THE MONDAY MORNING HI-QUALITY VINYL RIP : Part One : BLUE FOR YOU

A new idea. One that might fly depending on the views and responses from the readership.

From the outset of the blog (which will celebrate quietly its 14th birthday at the end of this month), all the vinyl rips have only been made available at the lowest of quality, i.e 128 kbps, on the basis that anyone who really liked a song that they listened to/downloaded would seek out a better copy, digitally or otherwise. I’m now intending to use each Monday as the day when I’ll move to a higher-res offering, at 320kbps, which is the best I can do via the software which I use with the new turntable.

The idea came to me when I started going back and playing old records and hearing them in a way that I hadn’t for a couple of decades. The various USB turntables that I’ve used to support the blog have been at the budget end of things but that is no longer the case, and I’ve also invested in a decent amp and set of speakers. All in all, it’s made for a listening revolution in Villain Towers and while I’m not wanting to move entirely to the higher quality of vinyl rip, I’ll dip my toe in the water every Monday morning with a classic single from the collection (worth mentioning that my definition of classic might not chime with everyone else’s…….but I’ll come to that at the end of the post.)

I’m starting things off with Paul Haig, and the two sides from a 12″ cut from 1982 issued on the Brussels-based label Les Disques Du Crépuscule. It makes perfect sense to do so given that Paul gave such great support to the old blog a few years back when Google pulled a few posts and songs, with the singer/songwriter, via his manager, offering the opportunity to post an exclusive new track, which later led to a relatively successful mini-campaign to have Paul Haig Day across a number of blogs.

Those heady days of music blogging are long gone for all sorts of reasons but a handful of folk are still hanging around doing things the old way, with every single one of us using our love of music and musicians to spread the word and to hopefully encourage anyone enjoying what they are hearing to spend some money to support the singer/band in question.

mp3: Paul Haig – Blue For You
mp3: Paul Haig – Blue For You (version)

It’s a long way from the sounds of Josef K and there were a few folk who were a bit disgruntled when Paul went down the dance route in the early 80s. I adored this single on its release. I still do today and it sounded immense coming out of the speakers here in Villain Towers. Worth also mentioning in passing that it features Giles and Samantha from Hey! Elastica on backing vocals.

The question though is whether you folk want this to be a regular feature and if so would you be willing to make suggestions as to a particular single or song that you’d like to have made available at the higher res? After all, my thoughts on what make a classic may well differ from yours and, besides, I’ve always taken pride on making TVV as inclusive as possible.

Cheers

JC

THE SINGULAR ADVENTURES OF R.E.M. (Part 14)

The Robster writes……

Picture the scene:

It’s Monday, February 19th 1991. Your humble scribe is working for Our Price, at the time the UK’s biggest record store chain. In among the boxes of new releases that day is one particular offering I’d been waiting very eagerly for – R.E.M.’s new single Losing My Religion. I can’t remember if I or someone else unpacked the boxes that day, but I know I had made sure that one copy of each format had been put aside. I so desperately wanted to play it, but R.E.M. were still considered a cult band and not suitable for a busy Monday of new releases, despite most of my colleagues and managers also being fans.

At one point later in the day, I managed to commandeer the CD player and headphones. I squat down behind the counter and played Losing my Religion for the first time. And as I listened, all that enthusiasm drained slowly away. What the hell was this? I mean, I was aware the band was making a more acoustic record akin to the mandolin-led numbers on ‘Green’, but I at least expected a chorus! Didn’t stop me from buying it though. On all formats.

mp3: R.E.M. – Losing My Religion

I played it to death hoping I would warm to it, and I did. But I still didn’t think it would be a hit. I was never one of those fans who didn’t want his favourite band to be successful so I had to share them with other people. No, I wanted R.E.M. to be huge, so I could point at all the others who thought I listened to “weird stuff” and tell them I was right all along! But if R.E.M. were going to be megastars, this wouldn’t be the song to catapult them to that status. I wasn’t the only one to think that.

The band’s label, Warner Bros., was wary about the group’s choice of the song as the album’s first single. Steven Baker (no relation!), vice president of product management at the time, said there were “long, drawn-out discussions” about releasing such an “unconventional track” as the single until the label agreed. The marketing department had similar concerns as did radio programmers. To this day, it’s a mystery how Losing My Religion became the global behemoth that it did.

It started out in life as Peter Buck teaching himself to play mandolin while watching TV. When he listened back to the tapes he made of his attempts “there was a bunch of stuff that was really just me learning how to play mandolin, and then there’s what became ‘Losing My Religion’, and then a whole bunch more of me learning to play the mandolin.” Despite “trying to get away from [writing typical R.E.M] kind of songs”, Buck admitted it was “probably the most typical R.E.M.-sounding song” on the new album. “The verses are the kinds of things R.E.M. uses a lot, going from one minor to another, kind [of] like those Driver 8 chords. You can’t really say anything bad about E minor, A minor, D, and G – I mean, they’re just good chords.”

The original studio take was just Buck, Mills and Berry. Mike Mills found it hard to write a bass line for the song without it sounding derivative, so what was used was apparently influenced by John McVie of Fleetwood Mac. The band felt the song sounded “hollow”, with the high range of Buck’s mandolin set against Mills’ low-end bass. To give it some mid-range, they drafted in former dBs guitarist/vocalist Peter Holsapple to play acoustic guitar. Holsapple remained as an unofficial “fifth member” of the band throughout the recording of the album and subsequent promotional live appearances. Michael Stipe recorded his vocal in a single take, which is quite remarkable when you listen to it.

Losing My Religion became R.E.M.’s biggest hit around the world. In the UK, it only reached #19, but unusually held that position for three straight weeks. The song’s popularity grew the longer it hung around, and years later is one of R.E.M.’s most recognisable songs, probably because of the slew of different live versions that have cropped up on numerous R.E.M. releases ever since. If you’d said that to a 19-year-old Robster squatting behind the Our Price counter he’d have sneered with contempt at such a ridiculous notion!

So, those formats I referred to? Well, the 7”, 12” and standard CD single all included a track entitled Rotary 11, a reference to an old b-side Rotary 10. Like its predecessor, it’s not really worth the effort, being just a daft jazz-tinged instrumental with a surf guitar lead. Of more interest was the extra track on the 12” and CD single, a live version of a Velvet Underground song. Now R.E.M. like the Velvets, as previous renditions of Femme Fatale, There She Goes Again and Pale Blue Eyes demonstrated. After Hours was a song penned by Lou Reed and sung by both Reed and drummer Mo Tucker. R.E.M.’s live version was recorded during the Green Tour in 1989 and first featured on the very highly acclaimed concert movie ‘Tourfilm’. It omits the part of the song Reed sang in the original to keep it short and sweet.

mp3: R.E.M. – Rotary 11
mp3: R.E.M. – After Hours (live)

Also released in the UK was a second CD single, labelled “Collector’s Edition”, in order to make sure people who bought any of the other formats also bought this one, especially as it didn’t hit the shelves until the week after the others! That’s music marketing in the 90s for you.

This CD contained another three songs from the ‘Tourfilm’ soundtrack, namely Stand, Turn You Inside-Out and World Leader Pretend. The originals, of course, all featured on R.E.M.’s previous album ‘Green’, their only other record released by Warner Bros., and clearly aimed to get new fans to buy that one as well!

mp3: R.E.M – Stand (live)
mp3: R.E.M.- Turn You Inside-Out (live)
mp3: R.E.M. – World Leader Pretend (live)*

One final note – Wikipedia lists a second “Collector’s Edition” CD single in the UK, which carried the tagline “Song Of The Year”. However, this was not an official release in the UK, but became available as an import from Europe. Along with the a-side and the 7” b-side, it also contained two other tracks that were released as b-sides in the UK on subsequent singles, so we’ll save them for later.

And one final note – I’m sick to bloody death of Losing My Religion now. I can barely listen to it anymore without wanting to turn it off. A shame, but a symptom of being an uber-fan I think.

The Robster

*JC adds.…..the mp3 provided for World Leader Pretend is not identical as that on the Losing My Religion CD single.  Instead, it’s an extended version which includes the longer introduction where, after the cheering from the previous song has finally died down, Michael Stipe uses a drumstick to hit the side of a chair and recites a few lines from We Live As We Dream, Alone by Gang of Four before the band burst into their own song.  It’s an exceptional performance of what is surely THE stand-out song from Green.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #228 : THE ORCHIDS

It is to my eternal shame that I haven’t really featured The Orchids all that much on the blog.  As this bio demonstrates, they have much in common with musicians in whom I store a great deal:-

Acclaimed Glasgow band The Orchids recorded for cult independent label Sarah Records. Formed in 1987, this prolific yet overlooked five-piece recorded a string of singles as well as three excellent albums, Lyceum (1989), Unholy Soul (1991) and Striving For the Lazy Perfection (1994). Often compared to similarly cerebral pop operators such as Felt, Aztec Camera and Primal Scream, the band split in 1995 at the height of their powers. Most of their records were produced by Ian Carmichael of One Dove.

The band reformed in 2004, and have since released three more albums: Good to be a Stranger (2007), The Lost Star (2010) and Beatitude#9 (2014).

The band passed me by, entirely, back in the 90s. I can offer no explanation other than the first two albums coinciding with a turbulent period in my life and then feeling very old (at the age of 26/27) as the ‘kids’ lost their minds over Sarah Records and the new sound of indie-pop. I do now own all three of those albums, courtesy of them being reissued many years later on CD, complete with a plethora of bonus tracks of singles, b-sides and demo versions. There’s plenty of material to come up with at least two quality ICAs but I’ve just found the task to be beyond me, mainly as I feel something of a fraud having not invested, financially or emotionally, in the band back in the days. For now, here, picked at random, is one of the singles:-

mp3: The Orchids – Something For The Longing

Released with the catalogue number SARAH 29 back in 1990

JC

ALL THE YOUNG DUDES

Stuart Adamson was just a month beyond his 20th birthday when The Skids recorded five tracks for their first session for John Peel.  Even more ridiculous and incredible is the fact that Richard Jobson was still too young to vote or legally buy a drink in a pub, and wouldn’t turn 18 for another five months (mind you, he looked about 25 years old at the time!)

mp3: The Skids – Of One Skin (Peel Session)
mp3: The Skids – Open Sound (Peel Session)
mp3: The Skids – Contusion (Peel Session)
mp3: The Skids – Night and Day (Peel Session)
mp3: The Skids – TV Stars (Peel Session)

It’s also worth noting Of One Skin is the sole track of those aired at this sessionthat would find a place on the band’s debut album when it hit the shops just under a year later, an indication of just how fast things were moving and the ability of the songwriting duo to keep churning out tunes and lyrics. All of the others would be relegated to the status of b-sides, and indeed TV Stars wouldn’t even be honoured with a studio recording, with just a live version appearing on the flip side of Into The Valley.

There is, as you’d expect, a sense of huge energy to the songs with that very distinctive sound that is can be attributed to the guitar skills of Stuart Adamson.  At the time of the session, The Skids had just the one physical release, the Charles EP on No Bad Records, a label that had been the brainwave of Sandy Muir, the owner of a record shop in the town of Dunfermline.

But there was a real buzz among the London-based music industry that this group of young men, who all hailed from a community reliant economically on coal mining and other blue-collar industries, had a guitar prodigy (Peel had proclaimed Adamson as the Hendrix of the generation) and a punk-poet among its numbers (one with a sense of humour as evidenced by TV Stars), as well as a rhythm section in Tam Kellichan (drums) and Bill Simpson (bass) that was as good as any in the punk/new wave scene.  Just one week after the session, Virgin Records asked them to support Magazine at a gig in Glasgow, following which they signed them to an eight-album deal, something which in due course became something of an albatross around their collective necks and would play its part in the band’s gradual and messy demise within four years.

If time-travel was a genuine concept, and everyone was allowed one wish as part of it, I reckon getting myself along to that gig in 1978 would be high up on my list.

JC