A debut guest posting from Strictly Rockers…..
Julian Cope is the only artist I feel remotely qualified to compile for an Imaginary Album having picked up my first Cope cassette (Fried, £3 from WH Smiths, Bristol) in 1984.
He is the artist I’ve seen live most and own more albums than any other. Following the Archdrude through thick and thin sometimes feels more ordeal than pleasure (Dark Orgasm?, Queen Elizabeth?) and his prolific output occasionally appears to shoot wide but, in his words, he is always ‘true to my metaphor’ and never fails to deliver on attitude, enthusiasm and sheer energy.
His autobiographies (‘Head On’ & ‘Reposessed’) set the benchmark for rock reminiscence and his writing about Megalithic Europe together with his evangelical promotion of music in ‘Krautrocksampler’ and ‘Japrocksampler’ and the online ‘Unsung’ album reviews (now happily compiled in the awesome ‘Copendium’ book) are persuasive enough to promote interest in previously unexplored musical and cultural areas. And that’s before we get into his works of fiction!
Faced with the daunting job of distilling a career spanning over 35 years and over 30 albums into a mere 10 songs is a task too far for me.
This is by no means a ‘Best Of’, for that, start with the essential ‘Floored Genius’ collections and the excellent ‘Trip Advizer’.
I gave myself constraints naively thinking that restrictions might make the task easier! I first tried ‘Cope Remixed’, ‘Cope Live’, ‘Cope Covers’ and ‘Covered’* before settling on the collection you see below. Ok, I know it’s not perfect, but it’ll do for now. There’ll be another along in a moment…
*If anyone is interested in hearing any of these alternate comps, let me or JC know!
Throughout his illustrious career, both in the Teardrops and solo, one phrase has endured in the Cope lyrical canon…
Lords, Ladies, Gentlemen & Drudes, I give you:
‘Ba Ba Ba’: A Julian Cope Imaginary Album for The Vinyl Villain
Phase One: The Teardrop Explodes
1) When I Dream (Long Version) (Kilimanjaro, 1980)
Final track on Kilimanjaro. Released as a single reaching 47 in the charts
‘I go ba ba ba ba oh oh, I go ba ba ba ba oh oh’
2) The Culture Bunker (Wilder, 1981)
‘… waiting for the Crucial Three…’
Describing the growing rift between the Teardrops, Bunnymen & Wah!
Cope’s jealousy at Mac’s success inspiring the line ‘I feel cold when it turns to gold for you’
3) Passionate Friend (Wilder, 1981)
Allegedly about Cope’s brief relationship with Ian McCulloch’s sister. The single version achieved a mighty 25 and an acid-enhanced appearance on TOTP.
‘That you could ever do that thing / And never bring yourself to sing / Bah bah bah bah bah’
Phase Two: Early Solo
4) Bandy’s First Jump (World Shut Your Mouth, 1984)
What an entrance! Originally written for the Teardrops, it announced Cope’s debut solo album in fine style. As if to say ‘I can do this without you, and I’m keeping my ba ba ba’s’.
5) Greatness & Perfection (World Shut Your Mouth, 1984)
An almost perfect second single off WSYM. Failed to break the top 50!
Phase 3: Major label Years
6) Eve’s Volcano (Saint Julian, 1987)
Cope’s sanitised ‘two-car garage band’ sound. Arguably his most successful, and certainly his most commercial period. However this, the third single from St.J, only reached 41. (Also available in ‘!Volcano Lungo!’ extended version)
7) Up-Wards At 45 Degrees (Jehovahkill, 1992)
A fan favourite from the album that Island initially refused to issue. Cope was dropped within a week of its release.
8) Try Try Try (20 Mothers, 1995)
Ok… so it’s more ‘Bom’ than ‘Ba’ but WHAT a tune!
Phase 4: The Head Heritage Years
9) Untitled (An Audience With The Cope, 2000)
A word-less, unlisted final track from a ‘souvenir CD concert programme’ available during Cope’s 2000 tour. Then curiously re-released the following year with updated artwork for his 2001 tour!
10) The Black Sheep Song (Black Sheep, 2008)
The title track from Cope’s ‘musical exploration of what it is to be an outsider in modern Western Culture’. Note authentic use of the ‘Baa’. The album also contained the epic ‘All the Blowing-Themselves-Up Motherfuckers (Will Realise the Minute They Die That They Were Suckers)’.
Bonus) C***s Can F*** Off (Live Recording, Village Underground, London 29/01/15)
Special festive version of an, as yet, unreleased potty-mouthed anti-capitalist live favourite. Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics: NSFW etc (From Youtube so not great sound!)
mp3 : The Teardrop Explodes – When I Dream
mp3 : The Teardrop Explodes – The Culture Bunker
mp3 : The Teardrop Explodes – Passionate Friend
mp3 : Julian Cope – Bandy’s First Jump
mp3 : Julian Cope – Greatness & Perfection
mp3 : Julian Cope – Eve’s Volcano
mp3 : Julian Cope – Up-wards at 45 Degrees
mp3 : Julian Cope – Try, Try, Try
mp3 : Julian Cope – Untitled
mp3 : Julian Cope – The Black Sheep Song
mp3 : Julian Cope – Cunts Can Fuck Off
SR also fired over a 6-track Cope Covered EP which he thought might make a good accompaniment to his debut post. I agree….
mp3 : Death Cab for Cutie – World, Shut Your Mouth
mp3 : Spoon – Upwards at 45 Degrees
mp3 : The Frank and Walters – Elegant Chaos
mp3 : The Oscillation – Head Hang Low
mp3 : Deacon Blue – Trampolene
mp3 : Bubonique – Jellypop Perky Jean