Turbo Trax (K-Tel, 1982)


Turbo Trax r.jpg

K-Tel’s Turbo Trax was released at the same time as Ronco’s Overload. Despite the two labels being rivals, there are 10 common tracks: Tight Fit – Fantasy Island, Kim Wilde – View From A Bridge, Roxy Music – More Than This, Hot Chocolate – Girl Crazy, Goombay Dance Band – Seven Tears, Bardo – One Step Further, Altered Images – See Those Eyes, Yazoo – Only You, Depeche Mode – The Meaning Of Love, Nicole – A Little Peace. At the time, the Ronco LP represented more bang for buck and certainly has the edge (in terms of sleeve design and overall musical standard). I propose concentrating on the “new” songs.

Madness released House Of Fun in mid-May 1982. Within days, most of the pupils in my school were singing it. Those of us lucky enough to afford new albums got to hear it a few weeks beforehand – as it was included on the Complete Madness compilation LP. The promotional video’s chemist scenes are now iconic which means that viewing them again unleashes a torrential wave of (mostly) happy youthful and carefree memories. After Tight Fit comes the cool jazz funk sound of Shakatak’s Night Birds. NB: there’s a fantastic cover version of this on Top Of The Pops 91 – the worst selling volume in the entire series.

Iko Iko is a much-covered New Orleans song that tells of a parade collision between two tribes of Mardi Gras Indians. Natasha brought it to Top Of The Pops in 1982 wearing her famous white ra-ra skirt. Many fantasies were had by teenage boys that night. Meanwhile Got No Brains was a flop for Bad Manners. Still sounds great – unlike the undercooked rock sound of Matchbox’s One More Saturday Night. More like one too many. Steadying the course are pop stalwarts Bucks Fizz with the superslick My Camera Never Lies.

“You can keep the Costa Brava” means only one thing – the seaside symphony of Chas & Dave extolling Margate’s virtues. We were in Courtown Harbour for a second holiday that August. Burning up the dancefloor in the Sands hotel was Candi Staton’s Suspicious Minds while under the radar were the Rah Band and their massive spacey jam Perfumed Garden. An enchanting jazzy tip. Lastly a curio, Prelude’s acappella take on Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush. Originally a hit in 1974 but re-recorded eight years later. Apocalypse now.

Favourite tracks
Madness – House Of Fun

Natasha – Iko Iko

Bucks Fizz – My Camera Never Lies

Lest we forget
Rah Band – Perfumed Garden

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17 Responses to Turbo Trax (K-Tel, 1982)

  1. cosmo says:

    “This is a chemist, not a joke shop.” I’ll say it again beacuse I really want to: 1982 was really a VINTAGE year for music. IMO, the best of the 80s, and one of THE best of all time.

    Now, where to start…? πŸ™‚

    Tight Fit goes all ABBA with Fantasy Island. (On the eve of the Viking superstars’ 34-year-long “break”, since a few months resumed.)

    Shakatak sneaks into the Top 10 (and quasi-mainstream popularity) with Night Birds:

    Roxy Music ended their original sttring of mainstream success with the album Avalon. From which More than This and the title track. I prefer the latter, but here is the best know hit track from that here:

    “I don’t care ’bout the colour of her hair/Or the colour of the skin that she’s wrapped in.” Hot Chocolate also returned to the fore that year with Girl Crazy (followed by It Started with a Kiss):

    Vince Clark left Depeche Mode to team up with Alison Moyet to form Yazoo, which started off with another of those “catchy tunes that everybody remembers”, Only You.

    And since you mentioned already the Rah Band I don’t have to.

  2. nlgbbbblth says:

    Top stuff Cosmo, thanks. A great year.

  3. Feel the Quality says:

    Random trivia fact. House of Fun was the UK number 1 when the Pope was visiting the country. So during the first Papal visit for some time (and it would be decades before another one), the #1 song was about contraception.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      wow! brilliant! He came here at the end of September 1979 but nothing so subversive topped our charts.
      We got
      29 September Viva Il Papa Catriona Walsh
      6 October Welcome John Paul II Jim TobΓ­n

  4. andynoax says:

    I agree with cosmo that 82 was a great year for music, possibly the best of the 80s (though I have a soft spot for 88!)

    I also agree that ‘Overload’ is the better compo of the 2 released at this time. I should point out that I hate Shakatak with a passion, but ‘Perfumed Garden’ is indeed a lesser played gem.

  5. andynoax says:

    I now own a copy of this album, bought in a charity shop today and in incredible nick,

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Good to hear that decent quality copies are still out there Andy! A lot of 80s comps that turn up here are totally trashed.

      • andynoax says:

        The cover has come slightly loose at the back (glue obviously not strong enough) but it and the other 4 I bought with it are very good for their age. The 70s ones look immaculate – I swear that the vinyl is unplayed and mint. Very weird!

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  9. Martin Davis says:

    I listened to the cassette of this album tonight and on the whole was really impressed with it.

    The version of House Of Fun on this album seemed to be different to all others I’ve heard which all faded out instead of the rather abrupt ending included here. Do you happen to know if this version is the single release or taken from an album?

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Hi Martin,
      The version on Turbo Trax is the original 7″ mix – it ends with a burst of fairground music. The more common mix (as shown in the video) ended up on Complete Madness and is compiled everywhere.

      • Martin Davis says:

        Thanks for clarifying that this version of House Of Fun was the single version.

        My observation of Turbo Trax was that all the tracks seemed to be unedited, in fact the version of “More than this” seemed to go on longer than I’ve ever heard it elsewhere. Having not yet heard “Overload” I”d be interested to find out were the tracks that were also included on this album also the same unedited version?

        • nlgbbbblth says:

          As far as I remember More Than This is the single version – 4:05. The Avalon mix is about 4:30 or so.

          Comparisons (Turbo Trax timings first, then Overload):
          Tight Fit – Fantasy Island 2:58 / 3:06
          Kim Wilde – View From A Bridge 2:48 / 3:00
          Roxy Music – More Than This 4:05 / 3:24
          Hot Chocolate – Girl Crazy 2:43 / 3:00
          Goombay Dance Band – Seven Tears 3:47 / 3:08
          Bardo – One Step Further 2:58 / 2:58
          Altered Images – See Those Eyes 3:04 / 3:04
          Yazoo – Only You 2:59 / 2:50
          Depeche Mode – The Meaning Of Love 3:01 / 3:00
          Nicole – A Little Peace 2:58 / 2:58

          Six significant variations.
          Timings based on my vinyl rips of both.

          • Martin Davis says:

            Thanks ever so much for providing me with this information.

            Interesting to see the timing variations across the two compilations.

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