Thursday, December 1, 2016

Random 80's Thursday

This edition of Random 80's is brought to you from Rochester, Minnesota, where I have been based this week.

Captain Sensible - The Toys Take Over (7" Single, 1988)
Indoor Life - Blue Grey Green (from Indoor Life, 1983)
Bop Baroque - Remember The New Day (7" Single, 1988)
White Animals - Big Shot (from White Animals, 1986)
The Model Citizens - The Great Suspense (from An Ordinary Urge, 1984)

I recently discovered Captain Sensible after discovering he did a cover of "Relax" by Frankie Goes To Hollywood as the flip to his excellent Christmas single, "One Christmas Catalogue". What a great artist he is, reminds me a bit of Jona Lewie, with a great sense of humour, addressing a wide range of issues, and famous for novelty songs which probably annoys him no end. Too bad apart from one or two albums his output is pretty hard to buy or download.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Blue Hour

'I'm going down the waterfront tonight'

Okay, so here's a weird one. One of the tricks I use to find random tracks to listen to is to search my hard drive for a particular word and copy over a bunch of tunes with the word in the title. A few weeks ago, I chose 'blue' and went from there.

I had to laugh when one of the tracks cued up while I was driving home. Evidently, I had recorded "The Blue Hour", a track from a 1984 EP by British band Raise The Dragon, at the wrong speed. I let it play for a while so I could chuckle at the helium vocals. Then something strange happened.

We went away to Denver for the weekend, and several times during that great trip, the keyboard part from that sped up track floated into my head. Evidently, there was something there. I had to wait until we returned to find the track, correct the speed, and replay it. Unfortunately, slowed down, it sounded wrong. It didn't sound 'right' at all. Even as a track re-recorded by the band (under the name Intimate Strangers, from the Charm LP) I missed the keyboard riff I heard that first time.

Thanks to Audacity, I got my remixing head on and got to work. I found that if I sped the track up to just slightly less than what I inadvertently did previously, and corrected for the change in pitch on the vocals, I now had a very listenable track indeed. Having listened to it about a hundred times, I still have no idea what it's about - but 'fire up the engines of love' definitely has a somewhat lascivious ring to it.

See what you think.

Raise The Dragon - The Blue Hour (remixed version)

Random 80's Wednesday

I bought some great vinyl in Denver over my birthday - mainly thanks to Andy at Albums On The Hill in Boulder and Black And Read in Arvada. Here's some tasters.

The Lonely Now - If I Could (from Original Intentions, 1987)
Dietplan - Counting Houses (from The Melting Pot, 1986)
Mondo Vita - Technical Difficulties (from Fins De Paris, 1983)
Tom Bright - Younger Days (from Torture Land, 1986)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Ward Brothers - Easy Prey

7" Single, released in 1986

I've wanting to post something about the Ward Brothers for a few months now. I'm not sure why their album The Madness of It All is not available digitally, but to be fair there are a lot of releases on the Siren label (a Virgin Records sub-label) that have gone AWOL. Here's a nice introduction - their first single - coupled with a B-Side that was exclusive to this release. More from the Ward boys soon.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Boys From Syracuse - I Cry For You

7" Single, released in 1986

Another single that was much better than I anticipated. Credits mention the Bucherri brothers and New England Records seem to have been based in London - which leads me to suspect that the Syracuse reference was symbolic rather than literal. Good stuff.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Frankies - Yo Yo

7" Single, released in 1980

Probably a bit earlier and somewhat atypical of the kind of singles I look for. But look! Doesn't the young lass on the back cover seem familiar? Maybe, if you've watched British TV in the last twenty years. None other than comedienne Caroline Quentin, famous for playing Maddie in Jonathan Creek and Dorothy in Men Behaving Badly. She seems to have kept this gig quiet.

A fairly ridiculous track to be sure, and hardly likely to be officially licensed from Disney, what with all the sexual innuendo apparent. Her collaborator was a well travelled musician, the late Kevin Westlake, who you can read more about here.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Empire - This Is My Word

7" Single, released in 1988

Empire was a project featuring talented songwriter, the late John Uriel, and Mark Lee Kemp. They released three singles, all very listenable, in 1988 and put together an album which was never released. The group continued to demo songs for a second album before calling it quits.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Martini Ranch - How Can The Labouring Man Find Time For Self Culture?

12" Single, released in 1988

1. How Can The Labouring Man Find Time For Self Culture? (Industrial Mix)
2. Back At The Ranch
3. Fallen Idols
4. How Can The Labouring Man Find Time For Self Culture? (Single Mix)

Martini Ranch was a short lived collaborative project featuring songwriter and performer Andrew Todd and actor Bill Paxton. Apart from two singles, the duo released an album, Holy Cow. This single featured three exclusive tracks unavailable elsewhere.

New Legal Download

I didn't know that Crash Test Dummies had released a new track called "I'll Be Peaceful Then" earlier this year, so I have made it my legal download of the week.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Random 80's Wednesday

Crazy busy at work this week, after a fantastic surprise birthday trip to Denver last weekend. Nothing too mind blowing today, just wanted to put something up for you all.

Breeding Ground - Happy Now I know (1986)

The Hooters - Satellite (1987)

Timbuk 3 - Reverend Jack and His Roamin' Cadillac Church (1988)

Big Dipper - Faith Healer (1990)

Crash Test Dummies - God Shuffled His Feet (1993)

I'm absolutely shocked I have not, apparently, posted this Crash Test Dummies video before. What a fantastic, creative band they were/are.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Soundtrack - Crazy

7" Single, released in 1982

I posted the other Soundtrack single, Ghosts of Love, a few years back. This one popped up on eBay while I was looking for records by the new wave band Freeze Frame. As is often the case I don't know much about the band. They recorded for Rialto Records and I think the two singles were everything they did.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Fontana Mix - Catwalk

7" Single, released in 1983

I don't know much about Fontana Mix, who recorded for the Compact Organization and released a couple of singles and an album. Although several Compact artists have seen their work reissued, nothing as yet has surfaced from these guys.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Random 80's Wednesday

Nacey And Matthew - Jamie (from Electric Stares, 1984)
Sight Unseen - Is This Heaven (from Sounds Eclectic, 1987)
The Other Side - Is It Any Wonder (7" Single, 1987)
Grey Parade - The Empty Room (from The Reason, 1985)
Dan Barr - Bus Full Of Nuns (from WEBN Album Project 8, 1985)

"Jamie" is a terrific little song which I couldn't wait to post. I found the album by scanning through 1984 albums for sale on Discogs, and a quick google search led me to a YouTube post. I knew right away I needed this record, unoriginal it may be for sure, but I'm a sucker for this kind of sound - to me very reminiscent of Jimmy Jimmy and their bright young pop.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016

Sam And Galore - Heaven Knows

7" Single, released in 1988

Singles like these are why I remain a vinyl obsessive and music aficionado after many years of collecting and poring over websites and eBay listings. A one off privately released single, here is a catchy, pretty tune with all the hallmarks of a classic Deacon Blue or Prefab Sprout offering. The most I could glean from the internet was that the lead singer - of some talent - gave up the band to run his family's music shop in London, and that the drummer Phil Morgan was previously in All Sons Of Allison and hailed from Tyne And Wear. It's interesting that the B-side was a live version of an otherwise unavailable track - not many debut releases did that.

I have just noticed that there are a bunch of S&G tunes on Phil Morgan's YouTube channel - God bless Google - so I'm off to check them out!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tim Cody - Davey

7" Single, released in 1986

I don't know much about Tim Cody except that the sleeve art reminded me of Woodhead Monroe and it's quite a good little pop tune. This was his second and final single release, I think, and nearly the last one on the Towerbell label which ended not long after. As always, I would welcome further information and enlightenment.

Vaughn Toulouse - Cruisin' The Serpentine

7" Single, released in 1985

I previously mentioned this very briefly here, but I have to confess I never heard it or knew much about before a few days ago. Vaughn was the charismatic singer with Department S - early '80s one hit almost-wonders and a bit before my time. He was also from Jersey so as a fellow Channel Islander I happened to like that. Sadly he died in 1991 without releasing anything else. From the title and mod-ish sleeve I was expecting something akin to jazzy crooning with a retro feel but I was quite wrong. Actually these are a couple of very contemporary, breezy and poppy concoctions that I feel a bit sad not to have heard before. Nice sleeve notes on the back, also.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Rema - Germaine

7" Single, released in 1987

Rema - Germaine (A-Side)
Rema - With Me (B-Side)

This is a terrific little synthpop single, and although quite obscure, is a ditty that has been associated with several bands on the fringes of the New Wave scene. "Germaine" was written by Ian Goral for his band Pozer from the Guildford area, and it originally had a much more power pop style to it. Rema was apparently also known as Rema Cadiz, based in Croydon, and several of their recordings are available on YouTube, such as an earlier version of Germaine.

The three members of Rema are listed as Samma (Simon Clothier) who is still active as a songwriter, Ian Penman on keyboards, and Dave Manlow on drums. I have to say the keyboard work on the single elevates the song into a different dimension, so Ian Penman deserves a lot of credit for his arrangement. I'm not sure if he performed on anything else.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Ralph McTell - The Winner's Song

7" Single, released in 1984

Here's a jaunty little track in celebration of the return of Premier League Football today. And the Olympics too, I suppose. Not sure if I imagined posting anything by Ralph McTell when I first started this blog in 2007 - we used to sing "Streets Of London" in school assembly when I was a nipper!

Cynthia Scott - Juggler Of Hearts

7" Single, released in 1983

Here's something a little atypical for today's post. These tracks have much more of a jazzy, latin feel than most of the new wave music I post. Originally from New York, Cynthia recorded a single for Compact and then this follow up while in London. I was intrigued to hear it once I discovered that she also went on to act, most notably in James Cameron's Aliens in 1986.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Yes Let's - Carried Away

7" Single, released in 1984

Yes Let's was a short lived pop band consisting of Paul Weston, Dai Chetley, Ingmar Kiang and Joe Gibb. The A-Side was produced by Langer and Winstanley. They had a few more songs but (I believe) only got to release the one single. The mixes on the twelve inch are also worth searching out.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Search Party - If It Makes You Happy

7" Single, released in 1987

Flip Me!

Confusingly, this is a different Search Party to the Tony Mansfield produced synthpop oufit from earlier in the decade. This is more of a straight ahead pop tune. They released one other single I think, "Walking On Thin Ice". Both were released on President Records.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

More From Bandcamp

More Bandcamp discoveries worth your time...

Last week I bought the debut album by Cry No More, a band I had not heard of before but put out two major label albums in the late 80's. Good songs and a wonderful sense of humor, evidently.

Yesterday I held off buying an album on vinyl by Naked Prey on Frontier records. Timely, as they are also available through Bandcamp.

Lastly I have to recommend a recent release by 80's synth guru Thomas Leer. As you might expect, his album 1982 is a collection of tracks he produced around that time that did not get released. Not sure why, as the material was very strong. He was label hopping a bit if I recall before his major label debut LP Scale of Ten in 1985.

Local Hero - Son Of My Father

7" Single, released in 1989

Swimming In The Sea - Hero For The Heroine

7" Single, released in 1982

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Milltown Brothers - Coming From The Mill

7" Single, released in 1989

John Ratcliff - Kerry Girl

7" Single, released in 1983

Flip Me!

John Ratcliff is very well known in the music industry, and has continued to produce music with many upcoming artists. He was heavily involved in the early success of a-Ha, which you can read about on his website,

Friday, July 22, 2016

Lots of developments, folks

Firstly, I've decided to add a legal download of the week to the blog, so I can highlight great tracks I come across that deserve wider exposure. If you buy any, it's also a way for me to earn a little money to support the ongoing development of the blog. I'm back on a schedule of regular updates and lots of content which makes me happy. After being on something of a hiatus for various reasons, I'd now like to get back on the radar so to speak so if you have your own blog and want to exchange links just let me know.

I've also been making much more effort lately to contact the bands themselves so if you had a band in the 80s and either want a mention or have some old tapes or vinyl you would like cleaned up, I would love to hear from you.

I'm also going great guns on my other blog, Smash Hits Singles, which is an 80's database I am adding to on a daily basis. I've always wanted to have a space where you can read the reviews of various singles andhave the option to download the track legally, watch the video or maybe even check out a magazine ad or article. That's the goal and by the end of today I should have over 100 singles listed, with more being added daily.

Lastly, I have probably bought over 50 hard to find or unusual UK pop singles in the last few months, so I will be adding these for download as well as going back through a lot of the old singles that need new links. I've got a lot better at cleaning them up for playback now, so I've been enjoying pulling them back out, especially as a lot of my original rips no longer exist.

Once again, thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Random 80's Wednesday

More videos this week. The common thread? All of these are Zeus B. Held productions.

This Island Earth - See That Glow

The Spy - Big Brother

Flesh For Lulu - Every Little Word

Spear Of Destiny - Never Take Me Alive

Pete Wylie - Diamond Girl

Monday, July 18, 2016

Big Noise - Fade To Grey

7" Single, released in 1989

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Morons - Morons From Outer Space

7" Single, released in 1985

From time to time, while I'm busy tracking down singles I've never heard of before, I'll see one I remember from the old record shops (Number 19, Woolworths, Boots The Chemist) that I never got around to buying. I'm pretty sure back in 1985 I had the view that if it wasn't in the Top 40 (and therefore mentioned on Top Of The Pops) it couldn't be any good. Glad to admit I was wrong. Anyways bought this recently for a princely 50p and found it to be an enjoyable, if dated, listen. Still haven't seen the movie yet.