September 7th,1998. The Quest Project. Angel.

If the WordPress gods have aligned, you will be reading this post at 9AM, on September 7th 2018. That’s because, exactly 20 years ago, to the very second, I’d have been in a record shop, in Hartlepool’s Middleton Grange shopping centre, looking to pick up a record. Not just any old record, but to me, one of the best songs that never saw the light of day. Some of you may know the story, but as the majority of my readership won’t be familiar with the original post, I’ll go through it again

It was the summer of 1998. I had just finished college, and had been seconded to a local accountancy firm, or rather the software sales arm of said accountants. They dealt in business software, and to be perfectly honest, I lost all interest in the work placement when I discovered the password for the internet. Mornings and afternoons would be filled with random surfing (Angelfire chat rooms, and improving my poor attempt at an Angelfire website) and doing various other things that simply didn’t involve working, whilst the two people who ran the business disappeared around the local area selling, and installing software. I hated it there.

Whilst travelling home one day, there was a voice, coming through the radio, behind a panio melody. It started off scratchy. The vocals kicked in. “Where’s my Angel? Can you hear me? Can you see?”. They sounded strange. Echoey, and even slightly slowed down. The scratchy piano sample carried on in the background. A drum beat kicked in. More and more dance samples were added, and then the drum beat kicks in. The song evolves, and eventually ends with a cracking little synth melody. I absolutely loved it. the DJ spoke over the end.

“And that was The Quest Project, with their new song ‘Angel’. It’ll be hitting the stores on September 7th”. OK, those weren’t the exact words, but you get the picture. I found out it was a new song, and when I can buy it.

Days passed, and it disappeared off the playlists. Nothing strange about that. At least I knew when it was going to be out.

Days went by, September 7th 1998 turned up. I got out of bed early, with the whole intention of heading to the local record shop and snapping up a copy. It must have been the first time the record shop had ever had a queue outside before the shutters opened. This is how early it was. As I went through the door, one of the assistants was waving a CD in front of the door to verify the theft detectors were working. I rushed to the new releases, and… nothing. Not a single copy.

Surely there must have been some mistake! I’d heard it on the radio after all! I asked the bloke behind the counter. He flicked through a tatty, Biro-filled notebook, looking for the releases. I could just about work out through the barely readable scrawl that there was no track called “Angel” coming out on this day. Surely there must have been some mistake. For weeks, I checked the releases, just in case it had been delayed, or somehow slipped through the notebook of biblical proportions that they kept behind the counter. Nope, nothing, nada. The song disappeared out of everyone’s consciousness, except mine. I played the small recording I;d got off the radio over and over again. I can’t have been the only person to know it.

There was one course of action left. The radio station where I’d heard it in the first place, the now-exists-only-in-name “TFM Radio” in Stockton. I reached out to a producer/DJ named Richard Kell, who said he knew the song, but didn’t know if the station still had a copy. During this time he’d taken over the late-night talk-in. Richard would often use edited versions of some great songs as the music between tak breaks, and one night, I just happened to be hovering over the pause button of my favourite tape recorder… “Teeee – Eeeeef- Emmmmm!” I depressed the pause button. Out came the familiar scratchy piano intro. I let out a scream of excitement. This was a perfect case of right place, right time, and I know the song wouldn’t have been aired if it wasn’t for me asking for it.

And that, as far as I know, was the last time it ever got played on the radio. Now, one thing I didn’t know at the time was that the version I liked, and the one being played on the radio wasn’t the proper version. It was a remix by “Trouser Enthusiasts”.

This made tracking it down just that little bit harder. Thanks to the likes of… ahem… “online services”, I tracked down the original version. It had a slower backing track, slightly different vocals, and sounded a hello of a lot more “jazz-funk” than the version that I knew and loved. Where was that upbeat sound? The progressive melody going through the song? I hate to say it, but… I… wasn’t a fan. In fact, I’m pretty sure I posted on here that it “sounded like shit” to the more upbeat version. Imagine my horror when I actually got an email from a member of the band! This was back in 2003, so I don’t think I’ll be as lucky now, especially since 20 years have passed, but it’d be nice to hear if they’re still around.

A few years ago, Jon Cox, a member of the band, posted the official video on YouTube, explaining that the record company got took over, the track got pulled, and all of the CDs that were already pressed, never saw the light of day. A few did slip through the net, mainly promos, so with the help of eBay, and other sites like it, I’ve amassed a few different versions.

The first one is the 6 track promo., catalogue CIDDJ 715 There’s no cover art for this one, as it was just a plain brown CD sleeve. It contains the radio edit of the Trouser Enthusiasts mix, along with 4 other mixes, and a remix of their earlier single “Initiate The Creative”

The second one is CD1 of the single (CID 715) . At the time, if everything had got released as it should, this would have been the one I’d bought, and as you can see by the tracklisting, there’s no “Trouser Enthusiasts mix. This was back when CD singles were a luxury item to me, earning a mere £45 a week whilst in college, so if I’d picked this one up, I’d have been somewhat disappointed.

CD Single 2 (CIDT 715) contains only two tracks, and comes in a sleeve. The original, and the elusive Trouser Enthusiasts mix. It’s just the radio edit again, so both tracks are on the promo CD mentioned earlier. This one proved the most difficult to find. In fact, I paid nearly £8 back in 2015. There is a three track version that comes in a jewel case, but I don’t have that one. I believe mine was actually an import.

The song was also released on 2x promo 12″ singles. (12 ISX 715 DJ) This was the first version I owned and contains the full length version of the Trouser Enthusiasts mix. There’s no timings on that page, but I believe it clocks in at just under 9 minutes. This is, to me, the best version. There’s also a dub version. I don’t really care for the “Dillon and Dickins” mixes also on there, and I don’t have a digital copy of those.

The other one (12 IS 715 DJ) is a slightly extended “album” version of the original, and the “Live at Fatboy J’s Remix” is the same version that’s on the CD single.

It comes as no surprise that there was no album released, and “The Quest Project” disappeared, all going their separate ways. Sian Evans, the lead singer went on to be a part of “Kosheen”.

That WAS Entertainment

It’s been a shitty few days.

Things haven’t been great for me recently. I WAS back at work, but I’m back on the sick again, because of my feet. Hopefully, it’s just for the week. and I’ll be back on Wednesday, but more on that later, possibly in a separate post. I’m still trying to get over the shock of the impending doom of “That’s Entertainment”

Well, it all started earlier in the week. As I mentioned, my feet are falling to bits again, so all plans I had for the weekend had gone out of the window. I planned on sitting in, not speaking to a single human being until I went back to work, and just generally feeling sorry for myself. Accomplice came to the rescue, however, and said “I’m driving to Middlesbrough to get my hair cut on Saturday, tag along and you can raid That’s Entertainment, I’ll be parking near it”, which loosely translates to “Get yourself out of the house, even if it’s for an hour, you miserable bastard”.

I agreed that a rummage through the 49p boxes at the afore-mentioned record store would possibly bring a small glint of happiness to an otherwise depressing week, so he drove round, I hobbled to his car, and off we popped to Middlesbrough.

We arrived at the store. Accomplice disappeared up the road to get (what’s left of) his hair trimmed, and I entered the store. My eyes lit up! The 49p CDs were now 10p each! I hadn’t been this excited since the Washington Branch closed last year Now, for the ininitiated, these 10p discs are CDs that have lost their cases, and are provided in just a plastic wallet. Some may have the odd scratch, and some may only be single discs from a multi-disc compilation. I don’t care about the cases, I don’t care about scratches. I don’t even care if I know what’s on the CD. 90% of the fun is getting it home, adding it to the database, and finding I’ve found something I’ve been after for years.

Now, these are right next to the counter. I think they’re intended for customers to just have a quick rummage through while waiting for their turn at the till, and not like I do – inspect every single box, picking out many discs at a time. I usually get quite a few at 49p, but then they’re 10p I do, quite literally, fill my boots.

However, seeing these CDs at 10p is usually a double-edged sword. It usually means the store is closing. As these were right next to the counter, it took seconds for me to realise something was indeed up. the staff were talking about dismantling shelves and moving stuff into a van. This very much sounded like the store was closing. I asked the guy behind the counter if this was the case. He confirmed this was the case, and as the conversation spread between the staff, I found that the entire chain are going “online only”.

Time stopped. Voices around me stopped making sense. This was possibly the most devastating news that a music hoarder could ever hear, especially with That’s Entertainment’s USP of selling cheap sleeveless CDs. I reached for my phone. I just had to tell someone. A text to Accomplice was in order.

I texted him, because I knew it’d make his day. Over the years, since my first discovery of the (now closed) store in the Metro Centre, I’ve dragged him round many other locations, as near as Stockton, and as far afield as Manchester. I’ve planned days out around going to these stores. In total, I’ve visited 17 different branches, each of them with their own unique charm, and, of course, row upon row of cheap CDs.

So, for one final time, the PA system played “Ring The Bells” by James. I plonk my (109) CDs on the counter for one last time, a lump in my throat, but with a slight wry smile on my face, as the guy behind the counter has to scan his “Sleeveless CDs” barcode 109 times, and altering the price to 10p for every single one. I pay my money and step away from the counter, just as The line “I don’t feel like God is watching over me” plays.

The song draws to a cold ending, with a chorus of “Ooohs” and “Aaahs”, as I walk out of the shop for one last time. knowing that the likelihood of me ever gracing these steps again would be very small indeed.

On the plus side, I have all of these to add to the catalogue, and also a nice “That’s Entertainment” retail box to keep them all in, and all of this only came to a tenner.

The record shop that almost destroyed me…

NOTE: I originally wrote this in a rather pissed-off and unhappy mood. I’ve slept on it since then… I’m only publishing it because everyone likes a car-crash style blog post.

Sigh. It’s a Saturday night. It’s one of those times when I really should be meticulously updating my record collection with the huge haul of wonderful vinyl that I have acquired. but no, I’m sat here with a can of Carling, freezing feet and a pet lip the size of an inflatable dinghy.

If you don’t bother with Facebook, or have me blocked for some reason, you won’t have seen my realtime updates. You won’t have noticed that I was due to travel to Newcastle to attend a local record shops’ “All you can carry for a tenner” deal.

So, let’s start from the very beginning, shall we? Approximately three weeks ago, I get tagged in a post which says “All the records you can cary for a tenner”. It’s one of those things that make your heartbeat skip a beat. Or that could have been the cholesterol in my blood. I don’t know, but I began to make plans in my head to go.

This was around the time that I got my eyes done, as you can remember from the previous post. Even from that moment, my gut was telling me not to bother. All the records you can carry for a tenner with my scrawny little pins? Would I really be getting my money’s worth? And then the logistical task of getting them from Newcastle to the leafy mansion known as Mercuryvapour Towers would be a nightmare.

I had a couple of offers of lifts, but these fell by the wayside, due to work commitments. So, I was literally on my own.

Flash forward to this morning. My alarm clock rings to the tune of… whatever the default alarm sound is on Ericsson phones. Despite knocking 7.5 pints back the night before, I was unusually ready for the occasion. Clothes were donned, pockets were lined with mandatory headphones, and a selection of “bags-for-life”, and I set off to catch the 9:02 train to Newcastle.

An uneventful journey took place, except the train was 6 minutes late.

Bing bong! The next station is Newcastle. Well, that’s what I imagined the announcement would have been, I was listening to the 12″ version of “Lambada” by Kaoma as we pulled into the station.

I walked the small journey where the record shop was, expecting to see a few people there… and well.

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For those of you who want to play along with Google Maps…

Click here

The queue starts where that blue wall is, and if you turn 180 degrees, then turn right at the end of the road, at the top is the shop. That’s your queue.

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I could have walked off. I’d already had backup plans. It was a nice day. Cold, but not raining. The backup plan was to get the metro to Whitley Bay. There are plenty of charity shops there, and they are all virgin territory to me. Yes, there’s a joke in there somewhere.

I joined the queue, mainly just to get a GPS location to post to Facebook, and to see how far it moved after 10 minutes. The answer was, not far. But, after 10 minutes. I thought I might as well see it a bit further.

30 minutes into it, and I wasn’t quite sure whether ice was forming in my blood, or whether the excess sugar in there was turning it to sherbert. Either way, the longer I waited, the more I was determined to stick it out. Every small march of a few steps closer up the road released a small fanfare in my mind, as it brought me closer to records, and more importantly, warmth.

Hours ticked by. I got sick of the music on my phone the instant it played One Direction (I can explain). I was getting colder by the minute.

2 hours into the ordeal, I turned the corner. There it was! The big, white sign… totally obscured by a sea of people… but at least I knew where it was! The Chinese Christian church, the Indian restaurant, the tattoo shop, and then the record shop. Heavenly angels sang overhead. It surely was almost over.

2 hours, 30 minutes ticked by. The moment I was dreading arrived. Years of heavy drinking means my bladder has been honed to become a finely tuned barrel, capable of holding enough liquid to fill the ballast tanks of a small passenger ferry. Unfortunately, thanks to years of spicy curries, the same can’t be said about my bowels. It was either flight, flight or shite. I had to rely on complete strangers to keep my place, and not see me as some kind of pushy-inny pushy-inner, when all I wanted to to was pushy-outy.

Thankfully, the matter was taken care of, thanks to a nearby pub, and I rightfully took my place back in the circle of life. Er, Sorry, the queue. Boredom was soon setting in, not just with me, but the rest of the queue. Someone even said “If I was here on my own, I’d have gone by now”.

Everything stalled at this point. The queue stopped moving. Very little progress was made for an hour, and we’re now up to 3 hours 30 minutes. It became clear this was because they were clearly running out of stock, and there were still about 50 people in front of me. My fears were confirmed, when a guy came out of the shop and announced that had virtually nothing left. Plenty of CDs, but the vinyl had all but gone. I was heartbroken. This always happens, whenever I do something like this, it never works out. I never get there. I am forced to live a life where I avoid queues because I know, I’ll get to the front, and they’ll have ran out of what I want. This was proven today, but in a more extreme scale.

I wanted to prove myself that I was being daft with this theory, but no, I was right, I am never destined to succeed with queues. I could be holding what I want to buy and they’ll still come up and say it’s out of stock.

It’s not very often these days that I feel rage, but that was one moment, where I walked out of the queue, and headed up Westgate Road, almost with my head in my hands, the last insult was having to walk past the place, and see the amount of people in there, clutching their piles of vinyl. I can imagine what they felt like on Bullseye, when Jim Bowen announced “Look at what you could have won”. I literally could have cried. Both shoulders had seized up from shivering. My back had pretty much locked from standing for so long.

I should have listened to my little bony arms and just not bothered.

I’ll tell you how bad I felt. I went charity shop diving afterwards. Mainly to warm up, mainly because there was no way I was going home empty handed. Here’s what I picked up…

A K-Tel instrumentals album called “Horizons”. K-tel for fuck’s sake.
Neil Young – Decade, 2CD set for £1.50. Actually, that’s not bad. Don’t mind a bit of Neil Young
Prefab Sprout – From Langley Part to Memphis…. scratched to buggery for 99p
The Adventures – Trading Secrets With the Moon… also badly scratched for 99p. It’s the follow-up to “Broken Land”, and I’ve never heard it. And, if those marks don’t come off, I never will.
Pete Yorn – musicforthemorningafter – I had one of his singles. The album was 50p. Suppose it’s worth a punt. No idea who he is.

Anyway, this browsing of CDs calmed me down a little, and I vented my spleen on the stores’ facebook page about their lack of communication.

Back to “the day after”. In hindsight, I probably should have calmed down first. My choice of words were harsh. It was pointed out to me that only 4 people work there. My conclusion is that it wasn’t their fault entirely. To a point, anyway. It’s not their fault the facebook posting spread like wildfire. It’s not their fault the amount of people turned up.

I do still think more could have been done to “help” the crowd, with more updates on stock levels and the likelihood of not getting anything. By that point, I’#d have been happy with a cup of water.

The little red bloke on my left shoulder, however thinks “£10 for everyone past the front door? Ker-ching!”

It’s an argument that could run and run. I do know, however, that “one bitten, twice shy” comes to mind, and next time an event like this happens, I shall think of my comfy, comfy pillows, and the duvet that I really could do with replacing.

My record collection is complete

I know some of you are itching to find out what happened on Day 2 of the Amsterdam trip. Yeah, well, that’ll have to wait for a little bit, because I’ve just had a moment that is so heart-stoppingly brilliant that I’m still trying to come to terms with the fact that I now have every record I want, with the exception of songs that I don’t know the name of, but then, they’re going to be pretty hard to find if I don’t know what they are!

Anyway, this is the vinyl varmint that has been on my wanted list since as long as I can remember…

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It’s the theme to very short-lived gameshow Interceptor. Though you could possibly work that out by the look of the cover. And I now own a copy. Let me take you back, to the very beginning. 1989 to be precise.

Channel 4’s long running gameshow “Treasure Hunt” has been axed, and Chatsworth Television had a similar, but more exciting gameshow. Technology had come a long way since the days of Treasure Hunt, where “Sky-runner” Anneka Rice would run around, solving clues, with the help of a helicopter, and two contestants in the studio, guiding her around a course, sometimes thousands of miles away. Obviously, the only communications they had was via radio, and Anneka’s live scenes were recorded by two blokes, Graham and Frankie. One of them would carry a camera, and the other would carry a huge “portable” U-Matic tape machine on his chest.

Anneka Rice had gone off to pop a sprog, and was replaced by Annabel Croft for the final series.

Treasure Hunt was a fun program (which also had a theme composed by Zack Laurence. It’s called “Peak Performance” if you really want to dig around for it. It’s commercially available.

So, as I was saying. Treasure hunt had came to an end. The two helicopters used to film Treasure Hunt, were redeployed for Interceptor.

This show was a little more complicated than TH. Let’s see if I can explain it without rushing off to Wiki.

Annabel Croft was re-used for this show. She was the presenter, and also the “middle-man”. The show has two contestants. Each with a backpack. One has the prize money in it (£1,000), and the other is empty. The two players get dropped in a helicopter in random parts of the countryside. Once this is complete, a 40-minute timer starts. They have to explain to Annabel where they are. Once Annabel finds where they are on a map, a waypoint lights up. This is the location of the key to the other person’s box. They have to find each other’s key, then meet up and touch hands to stop the clock.

Oh, but there’s a twist. “The Interceptor”. And it was a brilliant twist. Hats off to the guy to thought of this one. One the back of each person’s backpack is a series of infra-red receptors. The Interceptor has his own helicopter, and can fire an infra-red beam to the receptors, and this will lock the box permanently. Obviously, the Interceptor wasn’t just confined to a helicopter, he had access to a car, motorbike, and even a horse. I can’t remember if that was actually used, but it was in the opening credits.

The whole point was that the Interceptor, played by Sean O’Kane, was a villain. A bloody brilliant pantomime villain. There were some moments where he would see the contestants from the helicopter, and then sneak up on them. Unfortunately, it wasn’t easy for the contestants to hide, as they’d have a bloke with a 1989-style TV camera following them.

It worked. It really worked. Everything worked, but just like everything good from the 1980s, it was shit-canned faster than you can say “IIIIIII LIKE IT!” . 8 episodes were produced.

So, enough of the warble that you could have easily looked up on Wikipedia, why this particular theme? Why did “I Like It”? (By the way, that’s the Interceptor’s catchphrase). Hard for me to say. I just do. Many, many years ago, I found that the theme had been released as a single. I’m thinking about 1998 here. Sime time later, I found an MP3 of it, both the A side and the B side. Unfortunately, it had been recorded in pretty low quality. It was still listenable, but hell, I’ll get the 7″. And so the search began

It can’t be that difficult. The bloke who ran “Interceptor’s Lair” has a copy, because that’s where I downloaded it from. Must be millions out there.

Well.

No, is the simple answer to that. People who know me know I love my records. People who know me actually despise the fact that I love my records, because if they’re out anywhere with me, I drag them around every record shop, every market stall, every second hand shop I can find Every place that is likely to sell records, I’m in there.

Naturally, I’ve been looking for other things too, hence the fact my record collection’s just got too big to manage. But deep down, in my gut, I knew that “rock Revolution wasn’t part of the collection. I trawled eBay. Two copies turned up for ridiculous amounts of money. And I mean ridiculous. I think one of them was £22. I have a screenshot somewhere.

So, today, then, and the fateful moment that allowed me to complete the collection.

Jamie S had rang me yesterday. He’d been working away, and was back home this morning, and wanted to know if I fancied doing something. My reply of “Do members of the ursidae line of mammals defecate in large wooded areas?” confirmed that I was freer than the afore mentioned ursine after a dose of curried prunes.

He had an errand to run, in Sunderland. Now, this is where I think fate kicked in. Does fate exist? I don’t know. Maybe this was just an extremely lucky course of events, but hey. There’s got to be some order to all of this.

We arrived in Sunderland, and proceeded to walk down Charity Shop Alley. It’s a row of shops with about eight charity shops in them. Jamie cracked a joke about something, and I said “For that, I’m going to have a look in this charity shop”. We laughed, and he continued walking. He wanted to find the place where this errand must be carried out. About 10 minutes later, he rang me and we met back at the train station. The call ended with “I’ve found something you might like”. Cor. My interest was piqued. He’d found a record shop that had just opened. It was a record / music / coffee shop type place.

I walked past, and looked through the window. There didn’t seem to be much in there. A row of records, a drum kit, some chairs, nothing substantial. I said I’d have a look in, but I’d probably end up in “That’s Entertainment”. It’s a chain of record shops that sell CDs, often hard to find ones, but for pennies. They often have 49p CDs, without cases, which are entirely random. I assume they’re rejects from proper CDs that had damaged cases, etc. You know this anyway, if you follow my music collection.

We went to McDonalds first. There was still some time to kill. Food was devoured, and Jamie was going to head off to Errandsborough, and I was going to go to That’s Entertainment. I was stopped in my tracks by the fact that “That’s Entertainment” had now closed. Gah! I think I know why they keep disappearing and reappearing, but this would be wild speculation.

Oh well, I thought I’d give that new record shop a go anyway. The stock consisted of stuff that looked like it came from a charity shop. 30p stickers, overridden by a £1.00 sticker on the other side. Never mind. I’d have a dig through. There were a couple of 12″ singles that sparked by interest, but for £1 each, I’d leave them there for now. I looked around and found a few boxes of 7″ singles.

I had an odd feeling. There would be something in there. The records just seemed the right era. There was a hand-written poem by someone on one record, which they clearly liked… “If this record attempts to roam, smack its bum and send it home”. I was tempted to buy it just because it made me smile, but it went back in the rack.

Jamie rang me shortly after, asking where I was. He didn’t see me in that record shop, probably because I was kneeled down. I explained about this, and come and entered the shop. He can’t have been in there more than 30 seconds when I pulled this out. This elusive, round, piece of black plastic that has chased me round the internet for nigh on two decades. My search was over.

I can’t possibly convey in a way that is meaningful what happened next, and I don’t expect anyone that doesn’t collect stuff to even know what this feels like. It’s like blood drained from my entire body for a split second, then rose back up. If Jamie had happened to have his phone recording, it’d went viral. It’s like a quest had ended.

It was an odd feeling. After finding the “Fourscore” record a couple of weeks ago, this was by last holy grail. The last piece of plastic that was never released on CD, and never available other than the original release. Even Darryl Way’s “Little Plum” proved much less elusive than this.

It was a feeling like “wow, I never have to go into a charity shop again. I never have to put my back out, trawling through dusty, mislabelled boxes, asking awkwardly how much the singles were.

I’ll never be on the lookout for that black, white and yellow cover. I have it now. It’s mine. I’m going to stick it in a safe deposit box in Hatton Gardens…. Maybe not.

I’ve naturally played it, and it’s noisy. Especially the B side. But I don’t care. It’s the charm of collecting records. Someone has played it before me. Played it many times. Maybe left it out of the cover for a bit. It’s had a home. Lost that home, and found a permanent one here. I’ve spent several hours typing this now, and I still glance to my left, there it is, “Rock Revolution”. I can’t believe it’s actually here.

God, I need a shag.

Jean Bennett Sings

UPDATE: March 2017 – Jean’s nephew David has posted a couple of comments, thanks to him for taking the time to comment and post her obituary, sadly she passed away in 2003. The mystery about the attire is also solved, thanks again for clearing that up!

I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “Who She?” The answer is, I don’t know. I just happened to be flicking through my records in order to catalogue them, and this one appeared…

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It was part of a bag of records given to me by a friend. As you can see, at some point during its life, it has been used as a chew toy by a mischeivous puppy, which means the vinyl really doesn’t fare much better. Due to its condition, and the fact I’ve never heard of Mrs Bennett, it almost went into the big green charity shop in the sky (aka, the wheelie bin), but something’s made me keep hold of it. There’s a mystery surrounding it. I can’t find anything about her. At all. A few places have this record for sale on the internets (no, I’m not on the lookout for a replacement copy), but there’s no information on the lady, at all. the record doesn’t have a date on either, so I’m not even sure how old she would be now. If she’s still alive, that is, which I hope.

Somewhere in this terrace of unassuming, yet incredibly expensive houses, is number 76, the registered address of Nevis Records. Doesn’t really look like the type of place to be churning out platinum discs by the skipload, but let me give you the spiel on the back of the record…

This album by Jean Bennett has been made in response to the many demands from her fans. It contains many of the songs for wich Jean is known so well.

Lancashire born and living in Blackpool, Jean’s popularity is nation wide.

The expert opinion of Nevis Records producer Jim McLean and the musical direction by Nicky Welsh has combined to make this a Jean Bennett Classic.

Right you are, then. I’ll take your “expert” word for it. Now, the stylus on my record deck is broken anyway, so I’m going to play myself a couple of tracks. I’m not too bothered if I hit a canine-induced crater. Track 1, “On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep” is a no-go. the teeth marks are too deep to even attempt it, so let’s start with Track 2, “Bless This House”…

One thing that strikes me straight away is that this record is badly manufactured. It’s off-centre, which means everything’s wobbling about, making it sound off-pitch.

I played that side to the end, and although not my cup of tea, it was acceptable. There are probably worse ones out there. Either way, I’d love to know what happened to old Jeano, and if there are any fans of hers still out there… and can anyone explain those clothes she’s wearing?

Here’s the track listing for this album…

A
1. ON MOTHER KELLY’S DOORSTEP
2. BLESS THIS HOUSE
3. MARTA
4. IF I WERE A RICH MAN
5. SUNSHINE OF YOUR SMILE
6. MATCHSTICK MEN

B
1. PEOPLE (WHO NEED PEOPLE)
2. WHAT I DID FOR LOVE
3. IT MUST BE HIM
4. LOVE IS ALL
5. SALLY
6. FOR ALL WE KNOW

UPDATE 4/2/2017 – 2016 imagery for the houses, couple of typos fixed