Chart Attack (Telstar, 1982)

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Chart Attack r.jpg

Review
In 1982, Seán O’Brien was managing director of Ronco. The summer came and he decided to set up Telstar, taking Ronco’s record producer Neil Palmer and finance director Ian Dewar with him. Chart Attack was their first LP, climbing as high as #7 in the album charts which was no mean feat in the days before the exclusion of various artists. It was released in October 1982 and on that Monday, included three of top four singles. Please note that Chart Attack shares five common tracks with its most recent rival, TV Records’ Modern Heroes. These are Fashion – Love Shadow, Nancy Nova – Made In Japan, Talk Talk – Today, Thomas Dolby – Wind Power, Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf. Meanwhile David Christie’s Saddle Up had already appeared on K-Tel’s Chart Heat.

Nobody’s Fool was Haircut 100’s final 45 before Nick Heyward went off to pursue a solo career. A wistful tune packed with harmonies. Summer smash: The Kids From Fame’s LP from which the mournful Starmaker came – an Irish #1. Top of the UK charts: Musical Youth and their loveable Pass The Dutchie. The massive red, yellow and green speaker at the start of the video which I first saw on Anything Goes. RTE 1, Saturdays. In at #26 and then straight to the top. The quality continues on Captain Sensible’s Wot, the one with the ultra-slick bassline. And then, a sophisti-pop influence, the exquisite Glittering Prize from Simple Minds, riding on a crest with their masterpiece New Gold Dream.

Fashion’s brilliantly moody Love Shadow is followed by Billy Idol’s tuneful Hot In The City which was destined for bigger things. The ghosts of Modern Heroes are evident on Nancy Nova’s Made In Japan and Strange Arrangement – albeit a different song, the rather slight curio Phil’s No. 2 – which reminds of a very early Those Nervous Animals. Elsewhere Stiff Little Fingers’ dark Bits Of Kids rounds off the first half. Flip over to the beautiful mellow sound of Fat Larry’s Band’s Zoom, a closer in a many a nightclub back in ’82. Last chance to ask that lady to dance. It’s followed by Evelyn King’s soaring soul jam Love Come Down.

The Message: an extra social commentary by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five. Innovative because it slowed that beat right down which meant the instrumentation had space to breathe. Someone said it was a battle between electro, dub, slo-mo funk and disco all jostling for room which allowed the lyrical delivery to shine through. The definitive version of The Message is the album cut that lasts 7:11. The version here is 3:09 which is an early fade of the 7″ mix. The 6:00 video is linked below. It’s like a jungle sometimes.

We re-tread familiar ground for the next 12 minutes namely David Christie’s cheesy Saddle Up and a trio of new romantic classics from Talk Talk, Thomas Dolby and Duran Duran. The spell is broken with Michael Schenker Group’s Dancer; one for bass guitar students to learn. Meanwhile on Stiff comes the Soca groove of Explainer and Lorraine. We get a measly two minutes. End of the road: The Belle Stars’ endlessly catchy Mockingbird.

Favourite tracks
Simple Minds – Glittering Prize

Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five – The Message

Fat Larry’s Band – Zoom

Lest we forget
Fashion – Love Shadow

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6 Responses to Chart Attack (Telstar, 1982)

  1. cosmo says:

    And so began a label that would be a major player in the compilations market until its demise 20 years later.

    I agree 100% with you on The Message, Zoom, and Love Shadow. (Mind you, how could it have be that Act Like You Know, in contrast, fail to enter the charts?!)

    Plus:

    I much prefer this to Happy Talk:

    (RIP Andrew Sachs)

    (FWIW the Now Millennium 1982 album also had an “early fade” of The Message.)

  2. nlgbbbblth says:

    Great other selections Cosmo. Yes, the Now Millennium 1982 (with its jumbled tracklist on disc 2) has Part 1 of The Message. Don’t think it fades quite as early as the version on Chart Attack. Must check later.

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