Monday, 24 December 2007

Thanks for reading...

It’s time I put another post up if only to get rid of that picture of my old Vauxhall babe magnet.

I’ve been enjoying all the Christmas songs over at I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday (take a look if you haven’t already) but Steve seems to have overlooked one, so here it is.

mp3: Three Wise Men - Thanks for Christmas

The 1983 Christmas single from perhaps my favourite band, sometimes definitely my favourite band, depends on mood, time of year etc. You don’t need me to tell you who it really is.

Thanks to everyone who has dropped by and especially those who have left comments or hit the ‘contact me’ button over the last nine months. You have made it all worthwhile.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

I passed my driving test today…

This day in 1978 that is. I couldn’t tell you what I did on any other Dec 15th in my life but I remember nearly every detail of that one.

First there was the 20-mile drive to Yeovil, the nearest test centre, with my dad sat next to me and my mum in the back so she could do some Christmas shopping. After dropping her off we went for a little test run where I made a couple of mistakes (or did everything wrong, depending on who you believe) and my dad told me I was fucking useless and we might as well go home now. Never let a family member teach you to drive. In hindsight I think he was more nervous about the test than me. At that age you’re used to doing exams and all I had to do here was drive sensibly for half an hour.

So, anyway, I passed and celebrated with a trip to Acorn Records, my record emporium of choice at the time (which a quick Google search shows it’s still there), to buy the just released The Best and The Rest of Be Bop Deluxe. I was still in mourning following the demise of my favourite band so I was really looking forward to this. It was a double album with the first album being the best (although as always there were some curious selections) and the second featuring non-album singles and b-sides and six previously unreleased tracks. Now, time and bitter experience have taught me that most of these are unreleased for a reason. For the most part these tracks were pretty good and in the case of Autosexual excellent. It ticked all the right boxes for me: hypnotic drum loop, great guitar playing and plenty of synths. My understanding is it’s from the Drastic Plastic sessions (at one stage Bill Nelson wanted Drastic Plastic to be a double). It would have to be a brilliant album to leave this off. It was a brilliant album but would have been even better with this on it. I can only assume it was considered too similar to Electrical Language which shares a near identical drum loop. It quite rightly appears on subsequent “Best of…” compilations even though it didn’t make the cut back in the day.

mp3: Be Bop Deluxe - Autosexual (1978) (Buy)

If you’re still reading this I’ll tell you what happened next. I had my own car, a 1965 grey Vauxhall Viva HA similar to the one above which my dad had bought for £150, so in the afternoon I decided to drive to Salisbury Tech to see my friends and pose around for a bit. It was on the way home I learned a valuable lesson about driving: keep you’re eye on the fuel gauge. I ran out of petrol somewhere on the A30. I had my sister and my mate from across the road as passengers because I had told them it would be much quicker to come home with me rather than catch the train. As I recall they weren’t too impressed with the hike to the nearest petrol station.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

See you next week...

The vinyl archive will be closed for a few days while I fly north of the border to Dundee for a family wedding. It seems only fair I should leave you with something with a Dundee connection.

Not only is Ricky Ross of Deacon Blue from Dundee, he apparently taught my brother-in-law and, most importantly from my wife’s family’s point of view, he is a Dundee United supporter.

Here’s a song from Raintown, an album that starts inconspicuously but suddenly bursts into life on the 5th song (Loaded). From there it’s a real gem.

mp3: Deacon Blue - Loaded (Buy)

While I’m there I’ll visit Grouchos record shop if the boss will let me.

P.S. This is my 100th post so it really should be more of a landmark post but I just haven’t got the time.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Bullet proof heart…

I love music from 1980. The late 70s synth bands were at their peak, punk was turning into post-punk and the bands who would shape the early 80s were starting to make their mark. There was no clear consensus which direction bands should take so, for a while at least, anything seemed possible.

I had been collecting and enjoying Fingerprintz singles since I saw them supporting Bill Nelson’s Red Noise in 1979 but none of them looked like troubling the charts. For their 4th single they went for a less frantic and more polished sound with a tale of urban decay. It was produced by Nick Garvey of The Motors as was Distinguishing Marks, the album that followed. I loved this one at the time and thought it would provide them with a breakthrough (how many times have I said that on my posts) but it was not to be.

The band line-up is:
Jimme O’Neill - Guitar, vocals
Cha Burnz - Guitar
Bob Shilling - Drums
Kenny Alton - Bass

Jimme O’Niell and Cha Burnz went on to form The Silencers.
Bob Shilling became Bogdan Wiczling and appears as drummer on some Bill Nelson tracks.

mp3: Fingerprintz - Bullet Proof Heart (1980)

Their 3rd and final album would be a more radical departure but that’s for another day.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Screaming through December…

…that just about sums up what the next 31 days are likely to be like in this house. If you’ve got kids you will know what I mean.

mp3: Daryl Hall & John Oates - Screaming Through December (1974)

From a musical point of view I have to say this was a missed opportunity. Todd Rundgren producing Hall & Oates on the War Babies album should have been a marriage made in heaven. Both artists are capable of sublime blue-eyed soul but for some reason they took the rock route.

Since I only really posted this song for it’s title I feel compelled to post a much better one from the same album…

mp3: Daryl Hall & John Oates - You’re Much Too Soon (1974)

Get it here.