“Flashback to your days of youth
You’ve been there once, you’re living proof”.
Autumn 1990: Telstar went baggy and drove down the indie dance highway with Rave. The compilation is a nice complement to Island’s Happy Daze album despite three common tracks [Groovy Train, I’m Free and Loaded]. The blurb on the front inlay screams “14 hottest rave hits”. I already owned the majority of these, having purchased the 12″ singles in KG Discs during the previous 12 months. So Rave essentially soundtracks a year of my life, the one where I started third level education in Waterford RTC. The records were primarily funded by the ESF [European Social Fund] grant – £142 per month.
KG Discs was set up the Gilsenan brothers – Kevin, Pat and George. They hailed from my hometown of New Ross and opened for business at the Broad Street Shopping Centre, Waterford in late 1988. I was still in school so visits were every few weeks. Purchases were stepped up from the summer of 1989 onwards and by this time they had opened a second shop – at Lisduggan – which was conveniently located about 10 minutes walk from the local college. By early 1990 I was in there almost every day. The sleeves of the records featured on Rave [and their associated LPs] are still as clear as day – Goodbye Jumbo, Swagger, Liquidizer, Blissed Out, Ninety and Indie Top 20 Volume 10. I flicked through them hundreds of times and bought as many as the grant would permit. Both shops were an oasis of quality tunes with friendly service from the three Gilsenans and Lisa. This made a welcome change from the sometimes aloof and snooty staff in the Dublin stores.
First blood: The Soup Dragons’ cover of heretofore unknown-to-me Rolling Stones tune, I’m Free. Junior Reid to toast and floor is full. Instant gratification. Of more enduring interest are The KLF and the blinding Echo and The Bunnymen Mix of What Time Is Love? Bill Drummond that managed McCulloch’s mob in the early 1980s; was that Will Sargent on guitar? Get your baggy jeans out for The Farm and the mesmerising Groovy Train. Flashback to Channel 4’s Ibiza ’90. The blissed out vibe continues on The Beloved’s Hello which namechecks a wide selection of British light entertainment acts, sporting heroes, soap stars, writers and musicians from the late 1970s and 1980s.
Jesus Jones are represented by Info Freako, their spiky Peel favourite of 1989. I can still feel the energy. Pick a card, any card – The Blue Aeroplanes and Lovers All Around Mix of … And Stones. A twangy-guitar and a backdrop of techno beats combine for a real swagger of a tune. It’s followed by Northside’s busy groove of Shall We Take A Trip, produced by Ian Broudie. A total egg rush with the prophetic couplet as posted at the top. As one person remembers it’s all about purple ohms, strawberries, happy families, red dragons purple haze and the infamous window panes. Loaded also pops up here, the full seven minute version [Happy Daze has the 7″ edit]. And finally The Stone Roses. In an other-worldly twist it’s Sally Cinnamon, their second single which flopped in 1987 but reissued in spring ’90 to capitalise on the Roses mania. Pre-Mani and a heartfelt melody.
Make It Mine was The Shamen’s crunchy follow-up to Pro-Gen. A bassline that goes right through you. I’m still none the wiser about the mysterious Wicked Things. Just one single – Goodbye To Her – and only compiled here. A pleasant Rowetta-friendly tune with a Step On piano. Meanwhile World Party embrace the dancefloor with the tasteful beats of Is It Too Late? Seemed to be a promo-only. Ocean Colour Scene were also taking flight at this time; their debut 45 Sway is in good company here in beefed-up remix form. We return to more organic club sounds with the final track, 808 State’s masterful Ancodia. Remodeled from Ninety and including elements of Thelma Houston’s You Used To Hold Me (So Tight) and Unique’s What I Got Is What You Need. Madchester rave on.
Postscript: The back inlay makes reference to an exclusive video called Rave On, released by Telstar Video Entertainment. This six track VHS tape includes The KLF and 808 State tracks but different tunes from The Beloved [Your Love Takes Me Higher], Primal Scream [Come Together] and Jesus Jones [Real Real Real]. Plus LFO’s LFO which doesn’t appear on the main compilation. It also appeared on the KG Discs’ shelves. Respect.
“You might still see them in the desert”.
Northside – Shall We Take A Trip?
The KLF – What Time Is Love? (Echo and The Bunnymen Mix)
Lest we forget
The Blue Aeroplanes – … And Stones