SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #271: RHYTHM OF LIFE

REPEAT POSTING FROM 7 OCTOBER 2018

I’ve decided that Paul Haig should be the next subject for the Sunday singles series. I realise that many of you won’t be that bothered over the next few weeks and months given that he’s far from a household name and indeed could almost be the perfect definition of a cult artist; but I’m a huge fan and feel that his body of solo work, now stretching back the best part of 40 years in which he has continually tinkered and altered his sound, is very worthy of being put under the spotlight.

Paul first came to prominence as the lead vocalist of Josef K, one of the four bands to release material on Postcard Records. They split up in August 1981 and it is fair to say that, like many others, their legacy and impact was only fully realised many years after when the next generation of musicians began to name check them as key influences. His solo career began almost immediately, but not in any straightforward fashion, signing to a Belgian-based label – Les Disques Du Crepuscule – while opting to also adopt the moniker Rhythm of Life Organisation (RoL) under which he intended to release experimental material, much of which would be far removed from the post-punk, angular guitar sounds associated with his former band.

Indeed, it was as RoL that the first solo 45 was issued, and not on the label to which he had signed.

mp3 : RoL – Soon

Ok….the pedants among you might argue this is NOT a Paul Haig solo record, given that the credits are:-

Stephen Harrison : voice, guitar & lyrics
Paul Haig : other instruments & voice

But it’s an important staging post for what would follow in the succeeding years which is why I’m using it to open the new series.

Soon was issued jointly via Rational Records and Rhythm of Life Records and given two catalogue numbers – RATE 6 and RHYTHM 1 (these things were really important to those of us smitten by how Factory Records were keeping stock of the things they were involved in). Rational was a short-lived label, owned and run by Allan Campbell, who had been the manager of Josef K and would remain a key player in the Edinburgh music scene for a long while to come. The label would release eight pieces of plastic all told, including the follow-up by RoL, a double-sided single entitled Uncle Sam/Portrait of Heart, both written and performed by the late Sebastian Horsley with Paul’s role restricted to keyboards, bass and second guitar; as such I’m not intending to include it in the series.

Here’s yer b-side of Soon, and it isn’t a cover:-

mp3 : RoL – Summertime

Both songs are a tad on the light side, very pop-orientated with a sound that wouldn’t have been out of place a short while later on Zoo Records, the label which would launch the careers of so many 80s musicians in Liverpool.

JC

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