Thursday, 10 April 2008

From Tinseltown Neasden…

It’s the Hank B Hive show featuring the Neasden queen of soul…

If you were fortunate enough to see Roxy Music on their Avalon tour (I was smack in the middle of the 5th row at Wembley Arena. Brilliant!) you would have seen the excellent Mari Wilson in support. Bryan Ferry reportedly asked them to support RM after hearing the extraordinary Beat The Beat single. Mr Ferry may also have liked the way her publicity always portrayed her as a glamorous star even when she was relatively unknown. Early Roxy Music employed a similar ruse. Mari Wilson singles looked more like 60s EPs with Tony Barrow style liner notes (Paul Weller would use a similar technique with the Style Council a few years later). The emphasis on image and the camp comedy aspects of the live show was bound to alienate the more po-faced music fan but the rest of us went along for the ride, saw some great shows and bought some great records.

This is the opening number from a BBC Sight & Sound In Concert I recorded (probably) in 1983 and it illustrates the point perfectly. It’s nearly nine minutes long and starts with Hank B Hive (possibly not his real name) introducing the band with some pretty predictable ‘comedy’ routines and giving Mari the big build-up before she arrives and gives a storming version of Baby, It’s True. That’s something the naysayers missed: behind the façade was a great singer and band who knew how to put on a show.

mp3: Mari Wilson - Baby It's True (Live) (10MB file)

If you’re looking for a CD of this stage of Mari Wilson’s career I heartily recommend The Platinum Collection.

26 comments:

Simon said...

I loved Mari Wilson; Beat The Beat is a great single; it should have been a huge hit. One of her backing singers Melvyn was in a mid 80s mod(ish) band called The Jetset. I might dig up some of their tunes soon.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melvyn_J_Taub

Mick said...

I really appreciate the comment, Simon, because I thought I might get some flack for this post.

Simon said...

Nothing wrong with Mari; Not only Beat The Beat, but Just What I Always Wanted and her version of Cry Me A River; they were big faves in my house. I think the beehive and the stage show distracted from the fact that Mari had (still has) a great voice.

Simon said...

And as if by magic, over at Tracklister blog in November last year was Beat The Beat...

http://tracklister.blogspot.com/2007/11/mari-wiilson-beat-beat.html

dickvandyke said...

Yeah I loved her too. (Flak free zone Mick).
I recall playing the album to death. Fun, passionate and really well put together. Always thought of her, as the packed Jubilee line? commuter train trundled through grey Neasden.
Wasn't 'Cindy Beale' famously another backing singer

Simon said...

'Cindy''s front right in that pic, Melvyn is the guy behind her.

Mick said...

Simon beat me to it. Another former backing singer was Julia Fordham but she's not on that picture.

Planet Mondo said...

She got me in a right giddy ol tizz - there was something about those eyes.

dickvandyke said...

I'd buy her a Brandy n Babycham!
Cry Me A River had me bumbling like a bee.

londonlee said...

Remember when her backing band was called The Imaginations and they were sued by the soul trio Imagination because they ridiculously claimed punters might confuse the two groups?

They had to change their name to The Wilsations.

I have a single of hers, can't remember which one it is though. Lovely pic of her on the sleeve.

EuropeCrazy said...

You know you are getting old when you can't remember what you did yesterday ... but you can remember things like that "Sight and Sound" show as if it was yesterday!

Mari was brilliant, she and her band really knew how to put on a show.

Agree with Simon that people only seemed to focus on the beehive and ignored the fact that she was a great singer with star quality. She may only be remembered by many as a "one hit wonder" but we all know better don't we!!

Peewit said...

I think I probably saw her live four or five times both as The Imaginations and the Wilsations. Every time it was a show from beginning to end. Mari Wilson is still gigging ocassionally around the london jazz scene playing more on the Cry me a River style than the more upbeat numbers (I think more for the cost of backing bands than anything!) the last time I saw her (a couple of years ago) shw was still fantastic but her voice has mellowed into a more smoky croon much like later period Julie London (Now there wasa singer to make you swoon!)

Finally, thanks for this post. I always thought a Live album would have better captured her unique talents rather than the frankly disappointing album that was released

Davy H said...

I love that you expected to get abuse and got all these positive comments. Just proves the 'this above all - to thine own self be true' rule. Or something.

She was OK. My story is that because of her the original 'Cry Me A River' got re-released as a single and I discovered the wonderful Julie London x

Mick said...

I love that too. To be fair, I didn't expect a stream of abuse but maybe the odd snide remark, or even worse: the roaring silence of '0' comments!

Simon said...

As much as I love Mari, her version of Cry Me A River is good, but doesn't compare to Julie London's. It's the only song I know that ever made me cry.

JC said...

I'll go with Davy on this.

She was OK....I never owned any of her stuff, but I wouldn't switch off the radio if one of her songs came on.

The Vinyl District said...

My dad, a classic skinny-tie ad man who'd get promotional stuff from everywhere, brought Mari's LP "Show Time" (I think that's what it was called?) home with him one evening and I did in fact enjoy it right along with The Style Council's retro-cool. Nice one, Mick...

Requiescant said...

It's a shame that Mari seems to be labeled as some kind of novelty act now, she had a brilliant voice and was responsible for some of the most shameless 'POP' moments of the early 80s.

I seem to remember that she was linked(somewhat bizarrely) to Marc Almond!...even making an appearance in one of Soft Cell's videos. It was either 'What?' or 'Where The Heart Is' I think.

Mick said...

Requiescent,
I've been reading the comments you've left on old posts with interest. It looks like you've just discovered this blog. Hope you like it.

You're right about Mari appearing in a Soft Cell video: See here. Amazingly, I con't recall ever seeing that before.

Fruitier Than Thou said...

Mari is a Goddess.. Her & Hank were ahead of their time.. They had songs called "Ecstasy" & "R.A.V.E. Rave!" in 1982!! I can't believe that they had to drop the name THE IMAGINATIONS because somehow the pop playing public may get them confused with IMAGINATION.. I can't remember what show on BBC2 they did but Hank suggested that the you sing along to "Beat The Beat" by going to a CEEFAX page ..& when you got there it just listed "Lalalalalala la la la, Lalalalalala la la la,
Lalalalalala la la la!"....

Requiescant said...

Hi Mick,
Yeah...I just discovered your Blog the other day when I was Googling for Leisure Process. I couldn't remember the name of the single of theirs I had when I was at High School so I couldn't believe my luck when I found that not only did you have a re-print of the sleeve, but also the track available for download!!

Your Blog really takes me back to my High School days, and as I'm going through a bit of a mid-life/Proustian phase at the moment, it's the best thing I've found on the Internet in a long while. It's great to be able to reminisce without any fear of snobbery.

Keep up the good work,
Cheers, Gordon(aka Requiescant)

Mick said...

FTT,
This may even ne the tape with that CEEFAX gag, I haven't played it all yet.

Requiescent,
Thanks for the kind words. We're all going through a mid-life/Proustian phase; that's why we do this :)

Fruitier Than Thou said...

This is from the BBC2 sight & sound concert at the Regal Theatre Hitchin, 28th January 1983... When you listen to the whole tape.. You should find a great version of "Dr Love"... This was more the finished product & "THE WILSATIONS" ... The show I mentioned was about 18 months earlier.. The did "Beat the Beat" heance the "Lalalalalala la la la" .. I think the programme was called RIVERSIDE or something like that .. When they were THE IMAGINATIONS they were much more energetic which the records never really reflected .. I have to dig out some old tapes & post something..

lindarocks said...

Despite being a great fan of Mari Wilson in the 80s I'd forgotten about her until I was recently watching reruns of Coupling on Paramount Comedy. Hearing "perhaps, perhaps, perhaps" being sung so fabulously by her made me grab for my old vinyl and play some of her old stuff.

Next came the search to see if she'd released "perhaps, perhaps, perhaps" on an album and I found the "platinum collection". A few clicks later and a couple of days wait and I find myself sat at my PC listening to said album, which is full of gloriously fluffy pop songs, while typing to a complete stranger after google searching on Hank B Hive and this page popping up.

I saw them play a few times and loved the campness, humour and poppiness of the whole thing. I see no reason why pop music should have to be serious. In fact, I think it's BETTER for a bit of humour. I certainly wish I could be transported back there right now!

Bruv said...

Hi all you Marines and Marionettes,

Just in case you didnt spot it the whole of the Sight and Sound in concert gig is available on Youtube and despite creaky sound it's a classic.

sexy said...

借錢,黃金,黃金回收,黃金價格,黃金買賣,當舖

A片,A片,成人網站,成人影片,色情,情色網,情色,AV,AV女優,成人影城,成人,色情A片,日本AV,免費成人影片,成人影片,SEX,免費A片,A片下載,免費A片下載,做愛,情色A片,色情影片,H漫,A漫,18成人

a片,色情影片,情色電影,a片,色情,情色網,情色,av,av女優,成人影城,成人,色情a片,日本av,免費成人影片,成人影片,情色a片,sex,免費a片,a片下載,免費a片下載,成人網站,做愛,自拍

情趣用品,情趣,A片,AIO,AV,AV女優,A漫,免費A片,AIO交友愛情館,愛情公寓,情色,情色貼圖,色情小說,情色小說,情色文學,色情,寄情築園小遊戲,色情遊戲,嘟嘟情人色網,一葉情貼圖片區,情色論壇,色情影片,微風成人,嘟嘟成人網,成人,18成人,成人影城,成人圖片區,成人圖片,成人貼圖,UT聊天室,聊天室,豆豆聊天室,哈啦聊天室,尋夢園聊天室,聊天室尋夢園,視訊聊天室,視訊聊天

麻將,台灣彩卷,六合彩開獎號碼,運動彩卷,六合彩,線上遊戲,矽谷麻將,明星3缺一,橘子町,麻將大悶鍋,台客麻將,公博,game,,中華職棒,麗的線上小遊戲,國士無雙麻將,麻將館,賭博遊戲,威力彩,威力彩開獎號碼,龍龍運動網,史萊姆,史萊姆好玩遊戲,史萊姆第一個家,史萊姆好玩遊戲區,樂透彩開獎號碼,遊戲天堂,好玩遊戲,遊戲基地,無料遊戲王,好玩遊戲區,麻將遊戲,好玩遊戲區,小遊戲,遊戲區,電玩快打,cs online

情趣用品,情趣,情趣商品,A片,AIO交友愛情館,AIOAV女優,AV,A漫,免費A片,本土自拍,自拍,愛情公寓,情色,情色貼圖,色情小說,情色小說,情色文學,色情,寄情築園小遊戲,色情遊戲,色情影片,情色網,色情網站,微風成人區,微風成人,嘟嘟成人網,成人,18成人,成人影城,成人圖片區,成人圖片,成人貼圖,成人文章,成人小說,UT聊天室,聊天室,豆豆聊天室,哈啦聊天室,尋夢園聊天室,聊天室尋夢園,080中部人聊天室,080聊天室,中部人聊天室,080苗栗人聊天室,苗栗人聊天室,免費視訊聊天,免費視訊,視訊聊天室,視訊聊天

情趣用品,情趣,情趣商品,愛情公寓,情色,情色貼圖,色情小說,情色小說,情色文學,色情,寄情築園小遊戲,色情遊戲,AIO交友愛情館,一葉情貼圖片區,情色論壇,色情影片,色情網站,微風成人區,微風成人,嘟嘟成人網,成人,18成人,成人影城,成人圖片,成人貼圖,成人圖片區,成人文章,成人小說,A片,AV女優,AV,A漫,免費A片,自拍,UT聊天室,聊天室,豆豆聊天室,哈啦聊天室,尋夢園聊天室,聊天室尋夢園,080中部人聊天室,080聊天室,080苗栗人聊天室