THE 23rd NEW ENTRY BACK IN MAY 1990


Yesterday’s monthly nostalgia-fest mentioned that there were 23 new entries into the Top 75 singles chart in the first week of May 1990….a quite remarkable stat and I think you would be hard pushed to find any other week where almost one-third of the hits were new.

I deliberately left off the 23rd and last of them – the one that appeared at #75 and dropped out the following week.

Ian McCulloch had great hopes for his solo career when he flounced out of Echo & The Bunnymen in something of a hissy fit. His debut album, Candleland, released in September 1989 caught a few folk out as it was, in many places, far removed from the sound of the band with which he had made his name. There was even a song that was the biggest New Order rip-off since Robert Smith and his buddies had written and recorded Inbetween Days:-

mp3: Ian McCulloch – Faith and Healing

Have a particularly close listen at the 2:40 mark….

The album was reasonably well received by the critics and sold enough copies to reach the Top 20 here in the UK, but it was one of those that came and went quickly, largely as a result of not really having any obvious singles. Most folk seemed to think that the title track, featuring a guest backing vocal from one-third of the Cocteau Twins, together with a guitar contribution which found Mac trying (unsuccessfully) to channel his inner Johnny Marr, was the best song on the album; but it wasn’t an obvious 45:-

mp3: Ian McCulloch (featuring Elizabeth Fraser) – Candleland

Someone came up with the genius idea of inviting Gil Norton to sprinkle some fairy dust on the song. Strings were added and Liz’s vocal becomes more prominent, making it almost like a duet in many places. The result was quite splendid:-

mp3: Ian McCulloch (featuring Elizabeth Fraser) – Candleland (The Second Coming)

The mistake was to release it in an already very crowded market and no matter how hard the pluggers would have worked and pushed it, it was going to struggle to get airplay. It really deserved a much better fate.

The interesting thing, from a fan’s perspective, is that three new songs were included on the 12″ single, all of them produced by Gil Norton. The results are mixed but there’s occasionally a hint of the Bunnymen sound and tempo. The first of them has a feel that would be reproduced on the Evergreen comeback album, while the opening notes of the second song reminds me of Noctural Me from the Ocean Rain album.

mp3: Ian McCulloch – Big Days
mp3: Ian McCulloch – The World Is Flat

The final track is, IMHO, a bit of a letdown but here it is for completeness sake:-

mp3: Ian McCulloch – Wassailing In The Night

Mac was, and still is, a huge football fan and he must have looked on with a bit of envy to see New Order hitting the heights with the England World Cup squad. Eight years later, he got his chance when he was asked to write and record the official song for the team in advance of France 1998. He roped in Johnny Marr to help with the tune and members of Ocean Colour Scene, Space and the Spice Girls to join in the vocal.

It’s simply appalling and everything you fear with a release of this type. Especially the promo:-

It reached #9 in the charts

JC

AN IMAGINARY COMPILATION ALBUM : #43 : PETE WYLIE; plus BUNNYMAC SOLO MATERIAL

whattixecho-the-bunnymen-9-12-1981001A very late change of plans at Villain Towers.

Echorich picked out ten great tracks that would make a tremendous Pete Wylie compilation and given that postpunkmonk has said he wished that he had picked up on more of the material back in the day, well I think it’s worth posting something up.  For those of you who don’t perhaps read the comments, here’s what echorich had to say:-

Pete Wylie is my favorite Rock Star of ALL TIME…Probably because he’s the only one I’ve gotten drunk with until 7am in a New York Nightclub 4 nights on the trot, and definitely because he NEVER attained Rock Start status but was always prepared for it.

JC, you’ve picked the three songs which earned him the rank of a great artist. But I will add three that I just can’t live without, and one is among my 10 favorite songs of all time.

The first, and one which first blew my socks off and sucked me into WAH!’s aural vortex was Seven Minutes To Midnight. There might not be any more urgent Post Punk song ever written.

The second, and the one which if count as an all time favorite is Hope (I Wish You’d Believe Me). To this day, this song sends chills up my spine and makes me quite emotional every time I play it.

The third is If I Love You. Again, Wylie’s straining, pleading singing just grabs the listener and won’t let go.

And as for an Imaginary WAH!/Wylie Album, here’s mine:
A
1. Better Scream
2. Seven Minutes To Midnight
3. Remember
4. Story Of The Blues
5. Hope (I Wish You’d Believe Me)
B
1. Weekends
2. Come Back
3. Sinful
4. If I Love You
5. Heart As Big As Liverpool

All of the tracks selected by echorich can be found on this long-deleted compilation CD which, if you see any second-hand copies kicking around, I would recommend you splash out on it.

In the meantime:-

mp3 : Wah! Heat – Better Scream
mp3 : Wah! Heat – Seven Minutes To Midnight
mp3 : Shambeko Say Wah! – Remember
mp3 : J.F. Wah – Story Of The Blues
mp3 : Wah! – Hope (I Wish You’d Believe Me)
mp3 : The Mighty Wah! – Weekends
mp3 : The Mighty Wah! – Come Back
mp3 : Pete Wylie & The Oedipus Wrecks – Sinful
mp3 : Pete Wylie – If I Love You
mp3 : The Mighty Wah! – Heart As Big As Liverpool

Echorich also made some great observations on the solo career of Ian McCulloch:-

Candleland is the stand out, but there are some excellent moments on Mysterio – Pomegranate, Magical World, Dug For Love – which beats many of his contemporaries at the dance/rock emerging at the time and his gorgeous reading of Leonard Cohen’s Lover, Lover, Lover. In fact I’d say his version of the last song is as beautiful and seminal as Jeff Buckley’s career turn on Hallelujah. My favorite McCulloch song – it’s a b-side to Candleland’s Faith + Healing single – Rocket Ship. It’s an exuberant track with a heartfelt love song built-in.

I’m with him on Lover, Lover, Lover as being a tremendous cover version. Feels right that this week of nostalgically looking back at the class of Liverpool early 80s style should come to an end with these culled straight from the vinyl:-

mp3 : Ian McCulloch – Candleland (The Second Coming) (Extended Version)
mp3 : Ian McCulloch – Dig For Love (12″ version)
mp3 : Ian McCulloch – Lover, Lover, Lover (Indian Dawn Mix)
mp3 : Ian McCulloch – Lover, Lover, Lover
mp3 : Ian McCulloch – Faith & Healing (The Carpenter’s Son Mix)

while these are from CDs:-

mp3 : Ian McCulloch – Rocket Ship
mp3 : Ian McCulloch – Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
mp3 : Ian McCulloch – Suzanne

The latter two are more great takes on Leonard Cohen originals – and incidentally, it was Mac’s love for the Canadian bard that turned me onto his songs many years after I had initially ignored them on the grounds of him being hippy-dippy and ultra depressing.

Enjoy

AN INDIE-DANCE TUNE FROM THE PEN OF LEONARD COHEN

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No….your ears do not deceive you.  But it is courtesy of a cover version:-

mp3 : Ian McCulloch – Lover Lover Lover

Bearing absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to the 1974 original, Mac the Mouth gives us something we can all shake our snake hips to.

Released back in 1992, it got as high as #47 in the singles chart and was the highest placed of the eight singles Mac released as a solo artist.  The cupboard contains the 12″ version which was produced by Henry Priestman (ex It’s Immaterial and The Christians) and mixed by Mark Stent (who went on to find huge fame and fortune working with Oasis) :-

mp3 : Ian McCulloch : Lover, Lover, Lover (Indian Dawn Remix)

I suppose,  for the sake of completeness, I should also shove up the b-sides:-

mp3 : Ian McCulloch : White Hotel (acoustic version)
mp3 : Ian McCulloch : Vibor Blue (acoustic version)
mp3 : Ian McCulloch : The Ground Below

The first of the acoustic numbers is a version of a song on his 1989 LP Candleland while the second is a version of one than can be found on Mysterio from 1992.

Enjoy.