This is a last-minute change of cult classic. I had something else lined-up but it’s now going to have to wait a few weeks. Blame it on the demands of the customer base…and specifically that of Jacke from Stockholm who just 48 hours ago asked for some June Brides in the next post.
I’ll confess that I initially missed out on The June Brides. They formed in 1983 and by the following year had released two singles on The Pink Label. This was an era when I was listening to a lot of music and I can only guess that the reason that TJB passed me by was that I was too busy getting lost in the music of The Smiths, New Order, Lloyd Cole & The Commotions, Friends Again, Orange Juice, Go-Betweens, etc to pick up on everything. It wasn’t till the early 90s, some five years after TJB had broken-up, that I became aware of some of the songs they had recorded and released in their all too brief a career.
More fool me.
I think it’s best therefore, to allow someone who did fall in love with them right away to express what it is that makes this band so special. I’m pinching the following words from a great piece put together by Andy Wood in a piece he posted on the great blog Manic Pop Thrills:-
I was still at school, struggling along and trying to find some kind of identity for myself. A friend gave me a cassette of sessions that he’d taped recently from the John Peel show and there was a session by The June Brides which really struck a chord with me and that was it, I was hooked. The four songs on that session really stuck out for me, there was a sense of beauty and lovely melodies, there was the mix between that loveliness and a sense of regret, even worldly-weariness but also a sense of the possibility of change and a defiance that things could be better, no matter how small the change. The words and music became very special to me. I began to get quite interested in the sounds being produced by independent bands and labels and discovered a whole world which influenced me and this got me into playing, putting on live gigs and producing fanzines as part of a D.I.Y. culture that seemed so vibrant and interesting and diametrically opposed to the world of the polished, dull mainstream.
I tracked down everything I could find by the band and looked forward to new records and the possibility of seeing them live. Alas, although they played Dundee once I had no chance of being admitted to a strictly over 18’s only show in Fat Sams. I hated being young, I couldn’t wait to grow up, I was impatient to taste this world of gigs and music, to be free from the strictures of school and my parents but I was stuck, as The June Brides suggested, simply waiting for a change.
Fate is a cruel thing. Despite having seemed to have been on an unstoppable rise, releasing an album and several great singles and touring incessantly – including with The Smiths (on an Irish tour) – the band called it a day. Those who added the lush viola and trumpet to the June Brides sound would go on to play sessions with a number of bands including while frontman Phil Wilson signed to Creation as a solo artist.
The influence of the band remained though, at times noticeable and at other points less so. I think it can be heard in the music of a number of bands, not necessarily in an obvious way but it’s there. Belle and Sebastian would be one band I’d say shared my love for The June Brides. Their Peel session was issued in 1987 which finally allowed me to replace my hissy second generation cassette. A best of followed a few years later then there was an album of covers put out. Cherry Red issued the double CD “Every Conversation. The Story of The June Brides and Phil Wilson” which collected everything the band and Wilson had ever recorded. It’s an essential album for anyone I think…..
And it’s thanks to that Cherry Red compilation that I really discovered just how good the June Brides had been and indeed how equally rich the Phil Wilson solo material was in quality. It is, without question, as Andy says, an essential compilation. It also led me to get a hold of a vinyl copy of their one proper studio LP, There Are Eight Million Stories…. which was scheduled for a posting on this blog in a couple of weeks time, but Jacke’s prompting has brought things forward.
With this being the cult singles series, I’m going back to 1984 to the earliest material. I really couldn’t make my mind up which of the two singles from that year to select, so I’m cheating and featuring both.
mp3 : The June Brides – In The Rain
mp3 : The June Brides – Sunday To Saturday
(catalogue # Pinky1, released March 1984)
mp3 : The June Brides – Every Conversation
mp3 : The June Brides – Disneyland
(catalogue # Pinky 2, released September 1984)
The b-sides are also from the top drawer.
30 years on and the band have reformed and are playing live. They came to Glasgow in late November 2013, but alas I was out of the country on holiday. I hope they come back again soon….
Everything you want to know can be found at www.junebridesmusic.com