Happy Daze (Island, 1990)

Happy Daze

Happy Daze r

“This album has been compiled to reflect the events/music of 1990. Fifteen tracks in all, but it could easily have been a double album – who knows, maybe next time. Without waxing lyrical, we tried to pick and mix the grooviest music. Most reached the nation’s ears, some didn’t – but it’s not about chart success/sales figures, it’s about good music. We feel it sums up the year that Indie Guitar Pop finally left the bedroom, hooked up with some strident dance grooves and had one hell of a bender/night out! It’s a unique album for the discerning eardrum. I hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed compiling it”. (Gary Crowley)

October 1990: The year was winding down. It had been a hell of a ride. Island Records unexpectedly came out of nowhere and released a compilation called Happy Daze. A combination of indie dance, baggy beats and some ace alternative sounds that captures the zeitgeist of the time. In retrospect there may be a case for arguing that the full length of the CD format should have been used – with room given to The Stone Roses, New Order and Flowered Up. Or you could just lie back, open a can of Steiger and immerse yourself in what was an unforgettably bright and wide-eyed time.

“Just what is it that you want to do?”.

The first pair of tracks had also featured on Now That’s What I Call Music 17.
Loaded: Andrew Weatherall’s definitive remix of Primal Scream’s I’m Losing More Than You’ll Ever Have. The add-ons included samples from The Wild Angels [Peter Fonda] the vocal from The Emotions’ I Don’t Want to Lose Your Love and the drum loop from an Italian bootleg remix of Edie Brickell’s What I Am. A Boys Own dream. No doubt about it: next is Jesus Jones and the perfect pop noise of Real, Real, Real. Then there’s James; Come Home was their final single for Rough Trade in November 1989. Like Sit Down, it flopped. Fast forward to June 1990 and a remix from Flood. The promised land is reached. Confusingly this new version does not feature on the original Gold Mother album but is all on all subsequent pressings. I’ve got the bends from pressure.

“The desert grows three miles a year
It just grows, it just grows
I put my pain in a jar
It will be full tomorrow”

Manchester United: often associated with Madchester, some might say that the New Fast Automatic Daffodils were never really part of it. Big slots in fine though, a motorik groove of absolute melodic focus. A rush and a push and the land is ours – Soho cheekily steal the guitar riff from How Soon Is Now? Lose yourself with Jackie and Pauline. The indie Reynolds Girls. It may be a peach of a 45 but we get the longer unedited Graham Dove mix. The CD single rather than the 7″. The guitars crunch up as the Pixies hit their ultimate stride on Bossanova taster, Velouria. Loads of theremin. A Mars a day helps you Ride, Play and Fall. Their third EP; Taste is the second track after the shoegazing epic Dreams Burn Down. It’s super catchy with a buzzsaw guitar. It was a great time to be 18.

Organ fans: the Cool as Fuck t-shirts were that season’s essential fashion accessory. Life was good, live they were even better. She Comes In The Fall was a stormer for Oldham’s Inspiral Carpets. It’s expertly followed by two perennials – The Farm’s Groovy Train [cheers Terry Farley!] and the swirling Charlatans number The Only One I Know. Some Friendly in the white rubber sleeve from KG Discs. The big single not on the vinyl version. Respect. The Wonder Stuff also got in on the act with the spacey sound of Circlesquare. The Paranoia Mix is included here; a lovely touch. A non-album single which fell between Hup! and Never Loved Elvis and not as well-remembered. Lovingly preserved here.

I first heard Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine just before we broke up for Christmas 1989. A tale about unscrupulous landlords, Sheriff Fatman was amazing. A sardonic sideswipe and the subsequent debut album 101 Damnations was mint and full of energy. And now for Synergy: The Shamen were just getting ready to unlease En-tact. ProGen would take many forms and names; The Land of Oz mix was by Paul Oakenfold. As was his seminal re-working of Wrote For Luck, now dubby and less tribal. Still devastatingly danceable. The Bummed inner sleeve on a t-shirt. Hacienda ’89: endless memories and smoke stinging my eyes. Lastly or lizardly – and almost an anti-climax – are The Soup Dragons with their interpretation of a somewhat obscure Stones tune, I’m Free. Junior Reid in tow and filling floors everywhere. Dream E forever.

“The sweetest smile I believe in
Takes a while to start bleedin’
And the touch – is forever. . .”

Favourite tracks
Happy Mondays – W.F.L. (Think About The Future – The Paul Oakenfold Mix)

Ride – Taste

Lest we forget
The Wonder Stuff – Circlesquare (Paranoia Mix)

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4 Responses to Happy Daze (Island, 1990)

  1. Pingback: Happy Daze 2 (Island, 1991) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  2. Pingback: Rave (Telstar, 1990) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  3. Pingback: Rave I (EMI Electrola, 1991) | A Pop Fan's Dream

  4. Pingback: Precious (Dino Entertainment, 1992) | A Pop Fan's Dream

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