The recent posting on The Suede Crocodiles made reference to the establishment of No Strings Records in 1983 and the release of the first ever single by Del Amitri.
The brains behind the label were two Glaswegians – Nick Low and Graham Cochrane, and in a parallel universe they will be every bit as feted and celebrated as the likes of Alan Horne and Bob Last. It was Nick who, in 1985, would add The Incredible Blondes to the label’s roster.
This Glasgow four-piece, consisting of Barry McLeod (vocal, guitar), Robert Campbell (drums), Stephen Boyle (bass) and Eddie Campbell (keyboards) were yet another highly tipped outfit beginning to get noticed on what was a lively and thriving local scene. Although unsigned, they were invited to record a session for the Janice Long Show on BBC Radio 1 which, when aired caught the ear of Nick Low who immediately realised it was the same band which was rehearsing in an adjacent studio to the one he was working in. He introduced himself, talked a bit about the label and before the evening was over, had persuaded The Incredible Blondes to allow No Strings to release a single.
A few months later, Janice Long was among a number of DJs to give this a spin:-
I’d love to be able to tell you that I had a copy of this single and that I saw the band play live. But I can’t. The Incredible Blondes emerged just as I left Glasgow to live and work in Edinburgh and at a time when I sort of lost contact with all that was happening in the Scottish music scene, save from going to gigs and buying singles and albums by bands that I was already familiar with. The first time I got to hear the single was through its inclusion on the Big Gold Dreams box set.
It turns out that band called it a day when the debut single failed to chart.
The best part of 20 years later found Nic Lowe and Barry McLeod bumping into one another and reminiscing a bit. They realised that this one-off single was still highly sought-after by collectors, particularly in Japan where the band still enjoyed cult status among fans of indie-pop. This led to the two of them delving into the vaults and deciding to give a belated release to a debut album by The Incredible Blondes on the resurrected No Strings Records.
Where Do I Stand? was the name given to the album – and a new version of the song was recorded with a lyric translated into and sung in Japanese by Aya Matsumoto, a waitress living in Glasgow at the time.
The album was a mix of old recordings from the 80s and songs penned more recently by Barry. It was launched in March 2005 with the band reforming again for a one-off gig in their home city.
I’m pleased to advise that copies of the album are still available by mail order, on CD and vinyl. Click here for details (and it’s part of the same website from where I’ve pinched much of the info for today’s posting).