I’ve written about The Pastels a few times before, always owning up to the fact that not everything they have written and recorded has been to my taste and indeed that I don’t have all that much by them in the collection.
They are a band, however, that are long overdue an ICA, and my dear friend Comrade Colin has, on occasion over the years, threatened to come up with something (if you happen to be reading this post Comrade, I hope it shames you into action!!)
My favourite single by The Pastels dates back to 1986. I’ve only, up until a couple of months ago, had a copy of the song via its inclusion on a compilation CD issued by Rough Trade back in 2004. But a recent short break to Bristol took in a visit to a couple of second-hand shops and I was delighted to get my hands on a near pristine condition copy of the 12″ vinyl for a very reasonable price:-
It was the group’s first release for London-based indie label Glass Records, having already, in just a four-year spell, recorded singles for Whaam! Records, Creation and Rough Trade. There would be two further singles as well as a highly lauded debut album for Glass before Stephen & co. moved on again to fresh pastures.
Truck Train Tractor is a splendid piece of vinyl, with a harder edge to the music than might be expected from anyone who thinks ‘twee’ when confronted with the words ‘The Pastels’. Having said that, the lyrics with much use of the phrase ‘choo-choo-choo’ will undoubtedly lead to an association with badges and anoraks. Oh, and the equally enjoyable and excellent b-side, Breaking Lines, also happens to make reference to trains and train tracks.
There doesn’t appear to be much (if any) difference in the second version of the song, apart from a few seconds of dialogue tagged on at the end, in which one of the burning questions of the day is asked and answered…..