Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Promise - Glasshouse (1985)

The Promise - Glasshouse

1. Glasshouse (Extended Mix)
2. Time to Speak
3. Glasshouse (Single Mix)

The link has been updated in November 2013. This is probably one of my very favorite "obscure" singles which deserved to be a much bigger hit. Also it was great to hear from Grant, the lead vocalist for the band. Good work guys!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fun (Records) In Germany

Here's a little plug for mail-order specialists Fun Records based in Germany. If you have ever tried using Musicstack (and if you collect music, them you probably have) then Fun Records appears quite often, usually with comparatively low prices, even accounting for the Dollar/Euro differential.

As collectors of LP's will tell you, finding the albums is less than half the battle. The real challenge is having them shipped many thousands of miles safely without costing a fortune.

Here are five records I recently ordered from Fun.

What you can see here is the 7" and 12" of "Glasshouse" by The Promise, one of my favorite obscure '80's singles, and then The Great Unknown by Nomo, Good Evening Yugoslavia by Hitlist and Stronger Than Reason by Person to Person. I have featured rips from all these outfits before, but these were records I just had to own myself.

Anyway, to get back to my point, I paid about 14 dollars for all of these, and then a further 10 dollars for surface mail. Considering it typically costs over ten bucks to ship one album here just from Canada, I thought that was a good deal, and the surface option probably took a few days longer, but that's all. And as you can see everything was in excellent condition. Well done Fun Records, I will be ordering again soon.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Even More from This Other Eden

Regular readers will know I'm a big fan of the obscure British pop group This Other Eden, and last time I pondered what their unreleased album Freewill might have been like.

I've since been in contact with Chris Thow, who was in the band with Mike Perry, and he was kind enough to send me a couple of tracks and some more information.

The Freewill sessions were recorded near Taunton at a studio owned by Annabel Lamb. The following tracks would have been on the album:

Man's World / Black / Mama's In Love / Face of an Angel / Freewill / Ordinary Man / Wake Me Now / All Fools Day / Take A Leaf From My Book / Teach Me To Cry

In addition another track "The Word" would have been a bonus track on the compact disc version.

This leaves a further six tracks which were used as B-Sides. These are:

Heaven / Question of Love / Heart to Heart / Sweet Wine / Angels Tell Lies / Mama's In Love (Live Acoustic Version)

I've featured the singles Man's World and Teach Me To Cry previously. Here's the 12" Single of Face of an Angel, which I think was the second single released.

This Other Eden - Face of an Angel (1989)

Face of an Angel
Heart to Heart
The Word

[UPDATE] Well, it took a few years, but I finally got a copy of the album from Niall Power, who played drums for the group. The track list was slightly different, as follows:

Man's World / Face Of An Angel / Black / All Fools Day / Ordinary Man / Wake Me Now / Freewill / Take A Leaf (From My Book / Mama's In Love / The Good Old Boys

Chris and Mike have been performing gigs since 2014 under the name The Blue Amen and you can find clips and info via their Facebook page and Soundcloud. Great stuff!!

Niall has also sent me a bunch of photos from some of his gigs. Great bloke.

Seeing Red In Black And White

I've been involved in some lively discussions at the New Wave Outpost concerning a couple of vinyl rips I posted. Because the interest was greater than I expected, I decided to do a full post here.

Seeing Red was a band from Guernsey, Channel Islands that released one solitary single, a double A side. Track one was "Ice" which reflected on Robert Scott's tragic expedition to the South Pole in 1912 and in particular the self-sacrifice of Captain Lawrence Oates who walked to his death in order to give his companions a better chance to survive. The back of the sleeve quotes H.R. Bowers, another member of the five man expedition.

Track two was "Weekahead" which was a little moodier but probably my favorite out of the two.

The band consisted of Graham Luxton (vocals), Stephen Luxton (keyboards), Dave Upson (bass) and Gary Rouget (keyboards). The single was pressed on the Les Disques De La Rose Rouge label, serial number SRS001.

Graham Luxton and Dave Upson went on to form The Johndoes, a band that is still around today, albeit in a much altered line up. They have a MySpace page.

The Luxton brothers are my cousins and that is why I have owned this single since 1985. I'm amazed it didn't get lost or otherwise disposed of over a 20 year period.

Ed from CFRC-FM was kind enough (and had enough good taste) to recently feature "Ice" on his weekly show, 80's Retrospect.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Silencers - A Letter From St Paul (1987)

Another band that never seemed to get its due, The Silencers briefly rode the burgeoning celtic rock movement in the latter part of the '80's that coincided with the commercial peaks of such bands as Simple Minds, Deacon Blue, and Del Amitri. Formed by Jimmie O'Neill and Cha Burns out of the critically respected but ultimately unsuccessful new wave band Fingerprintz, The Silencers released their debut in 1987 and received some airplay, particularly in America, thanks to lead single "Painted Moon" and strong production overall from Dave Bascombe.

The Silencers - A Letter From St Paul (1987)
  1. Painted Moon
  2. I Can't Cry
  3. Bullets and Blue Eyes
  4. God's Gift
  5. I See Red
  6. I Ought to Know
  7. A Letter From St Paul
  8. Blue Desire
  9. Possessed
CD rip at 320k.

I also found a promotional 12" single for "Painted Moon" that included two rock radio remixes that I don't think were ever commercially available. Here's the longer mix.

The Silencers - Painted Moon (Rock Radio Remix)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Susan Boyle: Where Angels Rest

Just for once, I'm finding myself swept along with a pop culture phenomenon.

At first glance, my favorite tune so far this year checks all the wrong boxes. Firstly, it's from a musical (I'm not a big fan of musicals). Secondly, it's a live performance (again, not usually my thing). Third, it's from a (whisper this) reality TV show. An audition, even. And, quite honestly, if somebody had told me a few days ago it was possible for a middle-aged spinster from West Lothian to bring me to tears in front of my computer, I would have probably had a good laugh.

Enter Susan Boyle.

By now, her audition segment from last Saturday's Britain's Got Talent show has become a YouTube phenomenon, with over 4,000,000 hits. For the record, that's more than ten times more than any other clip this week. For once, I am more than happy to go along with the crowd.

To say she was phenomenal is an understatement. And, in watching the clip, you were able to see in the faces of the judges and the audience a sublime moment of recognition - when, after spending years listening to music, you finally hear something that makes you feel like you have been deaf for your whole life. As her voice effortlessly glides to the rafters, we are also transported - to a place where angels rest and the world we live in becomes beautiful again.

Like many others, I have watched this over and over again. Utterly fantastic.

This evening, I tried to watch some of the American Idol performances. It was tough. Because now, if I am not spontaneously standing up in front of the TV, tears streaming down my face, and clapping like a madman, I will probably be disappointed.

I showed the clip to my wife and daughter. My wife made a very perceptive comment. She said that it made her feel sad that this person's gift has been hidden for so many years. My own thought is this: wherever God is, whoever God is, and whatever God might be, He has a great big grin on His face. Because millions of people, all over the world, are now discovering one of His best-kept secrets.

As for myself, I'm praying for an album.

UPDATE - One year later: Well we all know what happened. Even though it was released in November, this lady was to have the top-selling album in the UK for 2009 and the second highest selling album in the US with over three million copies sold in just six weeks.

As for the YouTube clip, it still brings a smile to my face. Best reality TV moment ever. Even though I might have sounded like an idiot last year, I stand by my comments. Well done, that lass!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Random 80's Wednesday

Mancrab - Fish For Life (12" Single, 1986)
Mobiles - Amour, Amour (7" Single, 1982)
The Hollow Men - Gold & Ivory (from The Man Who Would Be King, 1987)
Getting The Fear - Last Salute (7" Single, 1985)
Just Good Friends - One Night (7" Single, 1984)

Completely random this week as these are five tunes I found on an old USB stick.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Last Gentlemen - Last Gentlemen (1985)

Remembering rare, obscure and just plain interesting vinyl releases from back when a CD meant you had money in the bank...

Last Gentlemen formed in Champaign Illinois in January 1984. The four piece band consisted of Brian Leach (vocals / guitar / keyboards), Michael Roux (keyboards), Jim Hewitt (keyboards / guitar) & Greg Manuel (keyboards). By the end of 1985 their first two independent albums outsold every commercial release at Champaign's largest record chain.

In the fall of 1985 drummer Tommy Garza and bassist Tom Broeske joined the band as full time members. By the end of 80's the band issued several additional releases on their Landmark Brothers label.

By the early 90's Last Gentlemen signed a major label deal with Zoo Entertainment and released one album before breaking up in 1993.

[Update 2020] This was one of the first "private press" LPs that caught my interest when I started collecting vinyl again back in 2009. Could do with a reissue along with A Kiss For All Seasons.

Last Gentlemen - Last Gentlemen (1985)
  1. The Law of Love
  2. Forget The Rain
  3. Stay
  4. One Possession
  5. Second Hand Affection
  6. Paint A Pretty Picture
  7. Hope As My Anchor
  8. The Difference A Day Makes
  9. Haunting The House
  10. Haunting The House (Reprise)
  11. Grey Rain
Vinyl Rip at 320k

Greg Manuel (keyboards)
Brian Leach (vocals, keyboards, guitars, bass, drum programs)
Michael Roux (synths)
Jim Hewitt (guitar)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Continuing Saga of This Other Eden

Long time readers may or may not remember that I did a post on the pop band This Other Eden last year. At the time I commented on their first single "Man's World". One of the particular motivations I had for buying a turntable was the prospect of finally being able to hear the second and third single releases by the band. In all, I believe 10 tracks have been commercially available.

This time I am featuring the third single "Teach Me To Cry". While that song is perfectly fine, I must say I enjoyed the flip side "Heaven" even more (which is why I included it on my Super Rare compilation earlier today).

The songs are written by Chris Thow and Mike Perry, with Phil Brown co-producing, engineering and mixing the tracks.

Probably the reason why I have become a little obsessed with the mystique of this band is the tantalizing prospect of the full album, Freewill, which was assigned a catalog number (AMA 9010) but which was never released. I got in touch via e-mail with Rob Levy, who played bass on the album sessions. According to the record sleeves the three singles "Man's World", "Face of An Angel" and "Teach Me To Cry" would have been on the album, and a track called "The Word" would have been a bonus track on the CD album only. Given the quality of B-Sides such as "Heaven" and "Angels Tell Lies" (which would not have been on the album), I can only imagine what musical masterpieces were left unreleased and unknown.

I'll post the other single "Face of An Angel" and its B-Sides soon.

This Other Eden - Teach Me To Cry (1989)
  1. Teach Me To Cry
  2. Heaven

Some Rare Vinyl Scraps

Thanks to everyone for participating in the 'vinyl vote' this week. I've already digitized the Spoons album Talkback and the Keep It Dark album 1st Down And Ten. Based on the latest poll, I will be doing The Silencers and New Musik next. Great choices too.

I've hit a technical snag in that my new mixer/preamp suddenly decided it only liked one channel. I may be retro but I'm not planning on working in mono anytime soon. So it will be a few days before hopefully I can get a replacement or a repair and be on my way again.

In the meantime, I've put together a short compilation of some of the odd singles and B-Sides I've been working on, most of which are quite rare and probably unknown to you lot. In the tradition of weird foreign compilations I have titled this Super Rare 80's!!! (Volume 1). I hope you enjoy these.

Super Rare 80's!!!
  1. Heyday - Come and Go (1986)
  2. Ice Cold In Alice - Throw Your Love Away (1989)
  3. Seeing Red - Ice (1985)
  4. Colour Code - Love Immunity (1984)
  5. Fire Next Time - Tears Are Nothing New (1988)
  6. Hitlist - High Treason (1986)
  7. Lemon Hearts - Honey From The Spoon (1987)
  8. This Other Eden - Heaven (1989)
  9. Love and Money - She Carved Her Name (1988)
  10. Indoor Games - All of Your Lies (1983)
[Update] This link has now been removed. I've now re-posted most of these individually elsewhere on the blog.