A GUEST POSTING by MARTIN ELLIOT (Our Swedish Correspondent)
It’s Fun To Entertain
About a month ago there was a pretty thorough writing on the blog about China Crisis which basically ended up in the confession they never really made it at Villain Towers while there were some positive comments.
I also added my share of appreciation, especially for some of the single b-sides, a comment supported by Postpunkmonk. So I thought I’d increase the China Crisis content here at The new Vinyl Villain by offering an ICA primarily based on single b-sides.
For an extensive read please go back to the “Rarely Mentioned In Dispatches” entry, I will not repeat the history so well put down by JC.
Just one addition; the CC single Wishful Thinking (not featured) hit the number 1 position on the Swedish radio show Poporama where listeners voted. However, they did never really bother our charts in terms of sales.
It’s Fun To Entertain – A China Crisis ICA.
1. Greenacre Bay 12″ version (b-side to Christian 7″/12″).
My all-time favourite CC song kicks off the ICA, a true pop gem thrown away as b-side. The use of what sounds like a Caribbean steel drum is just fantastic.
2. No Ordinary Lover (from the Virgin compilation Methods Of Dance volume II).
Also featured as a slightly shorter edit as b-side to No More Blue Horizons 7″/12″. A bit confusing as the chorus goes watching over burning fields for a rising sun, while the song titled Watching Over Burning Fields (second b-side of the NMBH 12 inch) is a 6+ minutes instrumental ambient-ish track. You can hear the early influences from bands like OMD and Depeche Mode, a sound they would abandon after the first album.
3. The Gates Of Door To Door. (from the album Working With Fire And Steel. Possible Pop Songs Volume 2).
One of only two album cuts in this ICA, and another favourite. At the time of the release, the lyric part “She dreams of childhood, and I dream of her” was pretty on spot and the track has stuck with me as a soundtrack to any unanswered affection.
4. Trading In Gold (b-side to Arizona Sky, the first single from fourth album What Price Paradise.)
Produced by Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley the sound builds on the more slick pop from the Walter Becker of Steely Dan fame produced third album Flaunt The Imperfection.
5. Scream Down At Me.
A stand-alone single, originally recorded for Inevitable Records who released the debut single African & White (later re-released by Virgin Records when they had signed CC). A cut aimed at dance floors, where it worked very well, but a path never really tried again (well, let’s see).
1. African & White (Inevitable 12″ version)
So the very start for the band, released 1981, a rather basic drum machine driven track. The 7″ somehow found its way into the local record store of my then small Swedish hometown and that’s how I discovered them.
2. This Occupation 12″ version (b-side to Wishful Thinking 7″/12″)
Another style-wise offspring, I can only guess they had listened a couple of times to New Order’s Confusion released a couple of months earlier.
3. You Did Cut Me.
Third and last single released from Flaunt The Imperfection, which failed to repeat the Top 20 chart success of the two preceding singles. Still my favourite track from the album.
4. A Golden Handshake For Every Daughter (b-side to Tragedy & Mystery 7″/12″).
Very much a track of the Working With Fire & Steel era, and would have fit nicely on the album too.
5. Hampton Beach. (Album track from What Price Paradise)
We close with a soft ballad that I have for some reason always connected to the John Irving novel The Hotel New Hampshire. There is something comforting over this track I can’t really finger point, a nice closure to a nice ICA.
Admittedly not the usual jangly guitar pop often featured in this corner of the internet, still I hope you can enjoy some of it.
JC adds…….this was originally meant to appear on the blog last month, but was replaced by my tribute to Terry Hall.
7 thoughts on “AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #327: CHINA CRISIS”
Have the debut album knocking around in a condition that suggests it got a lot of spins, and had a fondness for the long version of Christian, but an aversion to the vocal style (and the haircuts) meant I bailed out early.
A pal saw them play live – in Largs!
Love this so much. Haven’t listened to them in a long time and it was great to be transported back.
Good to see “Golden Handshake” making the cut – I went through a phase of playing it more than the A-side.
In the UK, there was a 4th single release from Flaunt The Imperfection, with The Highest High somewhat ironically getting a very low chart placing of #82.
Wow, some gems in this collection, all of which are new to my ears. Nice one, Martin!
China Crisis is not among my 5,000 favourite bands so far. And none of their songs that I could find on my hard drive (2) entered any of my countless playlists.
This is going to change. I like the album version of “African and White” (1 of 2) but this version is even better. Actually it’s great.
My favourite B-Side is “A Golden Handshake …”. And after coming to the conclusion (through contemplation) that it’s not children who have childhood dreams, i decided to like “The Gates of Door to Door” too.
Hi Martin. Consider myself a big fan of everything through What Price Paradise. Have some of the band’s singles from those early days as well. Yet, you managed to introduce me to a couple of new songs, and I call that a good day. You’re a gentleman. Thank you.