Moments In Soul (Dover, 1991)

Moments In Soul

Moments In Soul r

Review
There was no Nite Flite release in 1991. To occupy the space on the record shop shelves, Dover Records put out Moments In Soul, an 18 track selection of “soft soul classics” complete with token silhouette lovers on the front cover. Top billing went to Simply Red, Soul II Soul, George Michael & Aretha Franklin, Kenny Thomas, Donna Summer, Oleta Adams, The Chimes. Relegated to a smaller font on the sunset sleeve were Lisa Stansfield, Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross, Alexander O’Neal, Alyson Williams, Adeva.

Setting the scene: Soul II Soul’s glorious Keep On Movin’, by now a two year old memory from Club Classics Volume 1. It’s barely over before the plaintive keys of The Chimes’ I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For drops down. And my worst partial-mixing fears are realised with Kenny Thomas as his footloose and fancy-free Thinking About Your Love rudely interrupts the previous track’s departure. 1991 seems to be the peak for this atrocious fad. We step back in time for I Knew You Were Waiting For Me, a joyous collaboration between two of the finest singers of the era, followed by the talented pairing of Rufus (a band) and Chaka Khan. Ain’t Nobody was also in Breakin’, a 1984 movie that never seems to feature in Greatest Of All Time lists.

The early 1990s were surely the imperial phase for Lisa Stansfield. What Did I Do to You? was released as the fourth single from Affection in April 1990, reaching #25. The remix edit on the 7″ was by Mark Saunders. More romance: Oleta Adams was discovered in the US by Tears For Fears and featured on their 1989 album The Seeds Of Love. Get Here is a lyrical and beautiful R&B slow jam. Meanwhile Look How Long turned out to be the last studio album released under the Loose Ends name, and featured their final hit single, Don’t Be A Fool, a frankly awesome R&B jam with a powerful message. This particularly potent passage of play continues with Donna Summer’s swish State Of Independence before a downer appears in the shape of Simply Red – the slow set dead cert If You Don’t Know Me By Now. Still being caned by moustachioed DJs in clubs every weekend.

After Alyson Williams mournful I Need Your Lovin’, Black Box loom large with Fantasy, another winning single from the massive success that was Dreamland. We go laid back for Innocence’s soulful A Matter Of Fact and Alexander O’Neal’s If You Were Here Tonight. And then Luther Vandross’ ultra-smooth Give Me The Reason. Two old masters. Elsewhere there’s the buoyant uptempo groove of Circuit’s Shelter Me, a tune steeped in remixes. And now for a real curveball – anyone remember Angela Kaset, a singer / songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee. Something In Red was released as a single on the Dover label shortly before Moments In Soul. It’s a powerful piece but somewhat out of place here. Like a female Tom Pacheco. Finally, Adeva’s fantastic cover of Respect. The underground massive. Otis updated for the end of the decade and totally vital.

Favourite tracks
Oleta Adams – Get Here

Lisa Stansfield – What Did I Do To You?

Lest we forget
Loose Ends – Don’t Be A Fool

Posted in Pop UK | Leave a comment

The Best Of Indie Top 20 (Beechwood Music, 1991)

Best Of Indie Top 20

Best Of Indie Top 20 r

Review
Looking back: the sequel. The second round-up of the Indie Top 20 series was fraught with tension, completed just before the Rough Trade collapse. In the shop window, a collage of sleeves & logos with the following chosen ones – Happy Mondays, The Charlatans, The Farm, Inspiral Carpets, Carter USM, The Soup Dragons, The Beloved, New Order, Depeche Mode, Pixies, The Shamen, Spacemen 3, The Sundays. The inlay speaks:
“The Best of Indie Top 20 is a celebration of the rise and rise of independent music over the last three years. Many of the singles chosen are the bands’ first important cross-over hits. Music that is so often described as specialist or provocative, but soon proves to become the mainstream taste; establishing new styles and genres.
First released in ’87, The Indie Top 20 series has also gone from strength to strength, released 3 times a year as the definitive guide to independent music on double LP, cassette, CD and video.
Beechwood music is fiercely proud of its independence and by making these albums available and generating much needed funds for all the bands and record labels concerned, we hope that we are helping independent music to continue its growth through the nineties.”

While the double LP also gives us three extra songs in the form of Front 242’s Headhunter, Birdland’s Sleep With Me & Loop’s Arc-lite, The Best Of Indie Top 20 CD contains a total of 19 tracks, 18 of which have already been discussed in the following reviews:
Indie Top 20 Volume 2: The Beloved – Forever Dancing. Also on Indie Top 20 CD88.
Indie Top 20 Volume 3 – War Of Independents: Happy Mondays – 24 Hour Party People.
Indie Top 20 Volume 6 – Pride Of Independents: Spacemen 3 – Revolution, The Wedding Present – Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now?*.
Indie Top 20 Volume 7: Inspiral Carpets – Joe, Pixies – Monkey Gone To Heaven, Dinosaur Jr. – Freak Scene.
Indie Top 20 Volume 8: Depeche Mode – Personal Jesus, The Sugarcubes – Regina.
Indie Top 20 Volume 9: The Farm – Stepping Stone, The Charlatans – Indian Rope, Soup Dragons – Mother Universe, New Order – Round & Round (Club Mix), The Shamen – Pro>Gen, The Sundays – Joy, The Heart Throbs – Dreamtime.
Indie Top 20 Volume 10: Paris Angels – All On You (Perfume), Flowered Up – It’s On**.

A note on *: The Wedding Present’s Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now? was their final release for Reception Records. The version previously included on Indie Top 20 was the French language mix credited to Cadeau De Mariage and titled Pourquoi Es Tu Devenue Si Raisonable? We now get the more common English language take, a rather defensive entry in their catalogue as Gedge – unusually – is not being jilted or cheated upon. At the time, I considered it their weakest single to date.
A note on **: Flowered Up’s It’s On was released to much fanfare at the beginning of summer 1990. When it was gathered up for the tenth volume of Indie Top 20, a demo version was supplied. This error is now corrected and the correct 7″ edit is included. Watch out for the book coming about the band – see here.

There is one new track here, Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine’s Bloodsport For All. The full length version that appeared on the 12″ / CD single – 5:04 – is here. The shorter 7″ mix (as included on the official video) would have been preferable. Anyway it’s a stormer, a caustic glammed-up rock monster about military life and the bullying therein. Nowadays it’s remembered as a Gulf War-era tune, and one that fell foul of cautious radio programmers. That’s another playlist or themed mix concept that I might explore in the future. A worthy taster for 30 Something, Carter’s finest hour, an album of epic singalongs and bittersweet comedowns. I was browsing in my local record shop shortly after its release when I saw a guy I knew from school – Alan – come in and nod at the owner. He nodded back, put his hand under the counter and lifted out a vinyl copy of the new Carter LP, slipping into a Bridge Records bag. Now that’s what they call a special order.

Alan went on to play bass in Brawl, a hardcore punk band formed in New Ross during 1992. Around the same time, the members formed a collective – One Two Ten Promotions – and started to bring similar bands from Ireland, United Kingdom and Europe to play in the back of a pub called Galavan’s. Usually, these bands played Dublin, Cork, Belfast before stopping off at New Ross. This glorious period ran from 1992 to 1996 and the roll call of entertainment was seriously impressive: Herb Garden, Headcleaner, Decadence Within, Dawson, Citizen Fish, AOS3, Long Fin Killie, Dirt, Gout, Flexihead, Arnheim, Bleeding Rectum. Brawl invariably played as well and their set gradually grew stronger with killer original material like Washing & Cleaning, Hatred, Everything and Give Me Hope. The band released an eight song cassette in 1993 titled Barney – a dog with a burst football on the cover – and then an LP Gulag (1995) and finally the Thalidomide CD. The launch for the latter was in Charlie’s bar, Dublin, Saturday 17 August 1996.

I saw Therapy? at the SFX just before Christmas 1992. They gave away a free 7″ called Have A Merry Fucking Christmas featuring covers of With Or Without You and Teenage Kicks. Support were Silverfish who toured Ireland in their own right during August 1993. Brawl supported and I went to Sir Henry’s in Cork to see them. As the months flew by, Galavan’s became the place to go every Friday and Saturday night. We’d spend the early evening skulling cans of Steiger at our Ard Na Greine hangout before hitting the pub around 9.30pm. If there was no gig then we’d stay in the bar, feeding the jukebox which moved to Ma Byrne’s when Galavan’s finally closed. Its prime compact disc was Loaded. For the gigs you went out back – it was a massive cave, built on the side of a sheer urban cliff which originally was visible from the CBS primary school yard (1979-1984). There was a heater, a pool table and when the place was packed, you could see the sweat glisten on the rocks. Citizen Fish, June 1993 was the most rammed. c.150 people losing it to Charity.

For many of the bands who played Galavan’s, selling merchandise was crucial. The was best served by a distro which sprung up early on and was run by a guy called Stephen. He had a fine collection of t-shirts, zines, 7″s, LPs, CDs and cassettes. I was one of his best customers, usually picking up something after each gig. The Citizen Fish and AOS3 split 7″ – TV Dinner / Conspiracy is a marvelous memento and snapshot of those times while the evocative Dutch compilation LP The Dignity Of Human Being Is Vulnerable with its stunning colour booklet containing addresses for peace movements on former Yugoslavia brings me back to my idealistic youth. Sadly nothing lasts forever and by 1997, the pace of gigs slowed down, people moved on with their lives and the pub subsequently closed down shortly afterwards. It still stands on North Street, an enduring reminder of glorious youth.

69541009_10162386849920089_7907617116486893568_n

Favourite tracks
The Heart Throbs – Dreamtime

The Sundays – Joy

Lest we forget
Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine – Bloodsport For All

Posted in Indie Top 20 | Leave a comment

All By Myself Volume 2 (Dover, 1991)

All By Myself 2

All By Myself 2 r

Review
With the success of All By Myself, the Cokell brothers brought out a sequel in February 1991. It was developed by James Grant Management with QD Design taking care of the sleeve.The inlay thanks BMG, Castle Communications, Charly, Chrysalis, EMI, Polygram, Sony and Warner Music for their help in compiling the album. The “As Seen On TV” blurb is in purple & gold and reminds me of the Cadbury’s Eclair wrapper. A note: “The design of the wrapper and the trademark Cadbury’s Flake are the property of Cadbury Limited.”

Like rival compilation EMI’s Missing You, All By Myself Volume 2 opens with Roxette’s It Must Have Been Love, a track that had serious airplay during those times. Wrapped up in bits of silver, it’s Deacon Blue’s lesser-spotted Chocolate Girl. Lifted from the timeless Raintown, one of the most accomplished debut albums of all time. We go right back to 1975 for the next number, the Eagles’ Take It To The Limit – the only 45 where Randy Meisner sings lead. And in a bonus, it’s the 7″ mix here. His memories: “The line ‘take it to the limit’ was to keep trying before you reach a point in your life where you feel you’ve done everything and seen everything, sort of feeling, you know, part of getting old. And just to take it to the limit one more time, like every day just keep, you know, punching away at it … That was the line, and from there the song took a different course.”

The Shirelles’ Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow dates from 1960 but got a serious lease of life when it appeared on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. And Go West’s King Of Wishful Thinking is fondly remembered from Pretty Woman. Elsewhere, Rick Astley rises to the occasion with the gospel soul of Cry For Help, a wonderfully sung tune that appreciates over the years. Johnny Nash updated his 1972 hit I Can See Clearly Now for the youth of 1989 but it stalled at #54 in the UK charts. It’s followed by the languid Rio album version of Save A Prayer; if you want the more concise single mix then check out the fantastic best-in-class Now That’s What I Call Music 1982: The Millennium Series. Still fresh (then and now), The Beautiful South’s second album Choke was preceded by A Little Time, a nice duet between Brianna Corrigan and Dave Hemingway. Round and round goes the circle of love. George Merrill (Boy) meets Shannon Rubicam (Girl) and they wait for their star to fall. Originally written for Whitney Houston. She passed. And briefly Boy Meet Girl and that saxophone shone brightly, not unlike Mazzy Star. “Our love is a miracle now.”

There’s another 1960 number in the form of So Sad (To Watch Good Love Go Bad) by The Everly Brothers. Pure devastation – life is a vapour, we’re just passing through. In a rather neat piece of sequencing, the shimmer of Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere follows, then enveloped by Don McLean’s thoughtful, soothing Vincent which makes use of accordion, marimba and strings. To 1974 and Maria Muldaur’s saucy Midnight At The Oasis (not to be confused with Rainy Night In Georgia). Zip left to 1965 and the psychedelic strains of Go Now, the Moody Blues’ evocative chart-topper. I remember it from a late ’80s Spitting Image. Still carrying a torch, Tom Jones’ troubled Couldn’t Say Goodbye is a genuinely forgotten single from early 1991. And then Rod Stewart’s stunning cover of Tim Hardin’s Reason To Believe. Originally released with Maggie May as the B-Side, the latter tune eventually became far more successful. Initially I found Robert Palmer’s She Makes My Day tough to love with its odd time signatures. I got there in the end. A heart-warmer.

Favourite tracks
Deacon Blue – Chocolate Girl

Rick Astley – Cry For Help

Lest we forget
Robert Palmer – She Makes My Day

Posted in All By Myself | Leave a comment