Right, so we’ve had the first album purchased by myself, but that was 2nd hand, what about the first one I’d actually bought from a shop? Yes, that’s right! Step up “the 12 Commandments of Dance” by The London Boys! “Wait, what”, I hear you say… I thought this was going to be about Belinda Carlisle? Well.
Fast forward a few days later than the Jason Donovan LP, I ended up on a coach trip to Whitby. In fact, this was on Saturday 31st August 1991. I could explain how I know the date, but it’d bore you senseless… Well, if you’re reading this, you must be pretty bored, but you know what I mean.
Anyhoo, around this time, my interests were changing slightly. Up until this point, if we ever went anywhere, like for a holiday, I’d get a computer game as a memento. Earlier on in the year, Daddykins had brought a music centre home. He was a TV engineer, so I assume someone was either giving it away, or it was getting scrapped, or something. I have no idea of the model number or type, but it appeared in the Hogmanay episode of Still Game…
This was the week that my music collecting began, definitely for records anyway. I’d always had the equipment to play tapes, but these were always ones taped off the radio. It was time to get some original albums.
So, back to the trip. For the journey there and back, I’d taken my “walkman”. Personal stereo if you want to be pedantic. The trip, as always, involved a visit to Woolworths, but instead of a game for my Spectrum, I thought I’d treat myself to a music tape. As I mentioned, I’d picked up “The 12 Commandments of Dance”. Unfortunately, after getting the tape out of its box, it became clear there was a manufacturing defect. There was an extra pressure pad bouncing around inside the tape’s casing. For those who remember tapes, this is the metallic bit with a bit of foam or felt on it that would press the tape against the head. I didn’t think much of it, but as my dad rightly pointed out, having a loose bit of metal bouncing around inside would soon rip the tape to shreds, so off back to Woolies to exchange it.
It was the last copy they had. Bugger.
So, off back to the shelves. I wanted something that I’d heard of, and back then, with my tiny music knowledge, there weren’t too many I could choose from. I plumped for “Runaway Horses”. I knew the songs “Leave a Light on” and “We Want The Same Thing”, so at least there were two songs I liked…
Fate was on my side that day. I absolutely got the best one out of the two albums. The first track was “Leave a Light on”… Later in the day, I remember sitting in a pub courtyard, looking at one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. Still, to this day, I wonder what happened to her. Every time I hear that song, I’m transported back to that moment. It may have been The Pier Inn. So, if you were there on 31st August 1991, leave a comment. Or don’t, you’re probably old now.
So, yeah. I loved the album as soon as I heard it. I played side 1 mainly. “Leave A Light on”, “Summer Rain” and “La Luna” are still favourites to this day. The album ends with “Shades of Michaelangelo”, which unfortunately is my least favourite song on the album. Very slow and dreary, with an instrumental bit that really does out-stay it’s welcome.
A few years ago all of Belinda Carlisle’s early albums were remastered and expanded, in a booklet style case, with 2 discs and a DVD. Quite a few of the tracks are just the single versions of the songs, which are no different except they fade out early. There are a few other mixes, such as the acapella version of “La Luna”. Even after 30 years since its original release, the majority of the album still sounds good today.
I can’t conclude this without mentioning the London Boys album. I picked it up years later, and I absolutely hated it. “London Nights” is okay. So is “Requiem”. They get a spin every so often, but everything else on it is truly terrible. In fact, I gave my first copy away. A second copy turned up for 49p so I got it again, just for completeness.
I do wonder what path my music collection would have taken, if it weren’t for that faulty tape. Would I have hated the London Boys album back then? Would I have been so disappointed by it that it put me off buying albums? We will never know.
So, in conclusion, London Boys bad, Belinda Carlisle good.
Surprisingly, yet another entry that’s been influenced by long-time reader, and my far the most imaginative troll on this site, Chad. The year is 1992. I’d only been collecting records for just inder a year, so the name of Mike Oldfield was a bit unknown to me. The only music of his I was aware of, was his single “Moonlight shadow”.
“Sentinel” was the lead track on the album, which was released and remixed as a single. Around this time, Chad had picked up a copy of the afore-mentioned album on tape. I distincly remember its blue background, and yellow tube on the front. I only remember hearing the first track of the album, and was surpried to find out how differnt it was to the version released as a single. I think it was the first experience I’d had with an album version of a rack being different to the single version.
Sadly, around that time came the worst period of my life. and I remember, a few days after this particular thing happened, I went into Hit Parade on York Road, picked up the single version of “Sentinel”….. and “Tetris” by Dr. Spin. I’m guessing grief made me make some strange musical decisions that day.
At some point, I picked up the original Tubular Bells album. Admittedly, I wasn’t really a fan. I must have been about 14, and the two long passages of music didn’t really keep me entertained as much as, say, Pato Banton’s “Baby Come Back”, or whatever was in the charts back then. No idea what happened to the tape
Many, many years later, I found a 2nd hand copy of Tubular Bells 2. I was intrigued to hear what the full album sounded like, after only hearing the first track in its entirety. Needless to say, the fact that I’m writing this now proved just how much I liked the album. It was great. Much more polished, a lot less experimental. The two long passages of music still existed, as none of the tracks have gaps in between them (except, of course where you need to change sides).
There are some great hidden gems in there, and although a few singles came from the album, Sentinel was the only one that had any type of chart success – sentinel reached number 10, “Tattoo” reached 33, and “The Bell” reached 55.
“The Bell” is possibly my second favourite track on the album. Alan Rickman is featured as the “Master of Ceremonies”. though there are many different versions, with other people doing the role of the MC, such as Bully Connolly, MC Otto who is a German comedian. One version also has Vivian Stanshall reprising his role from the first LP. Unfortunately he wouldn’t be able to carry this role on in the third in the series, as he died in 1995. There were no MC tracks on the third album.
Interestingly, Alan Rickman isn’t credited on the album
I’m not going to do a track-by-track section as you really have to listen to the album in its entirety. Plus, they’re tedious as hell to type out
The 1980s was a time of uncertainty for the British Isles. Margaret Thatcher was in power, the coal mines were on the brink of closing, and things really didn’t look rosy. In 1984, a new TV series started, featuring the exploits of 4 labourers from around the country, all applying for jobs in Germany, and ending up in a building site in Dusseldorf., with *hilarious* consequences. Anyway, I could babble on about the plotlines and characters for hours, but I’m up early for work in the morning, and seeing as I haven’t done one of these for a while, I thought I’d continue it.
A very early memory of mine comes from this first showing. At the end of one episode, the sound started going all wobbly. Amazingly, thanks to the power of youtube, someone captured this very fault onVHS, and uploaded it to Youtube albeit from a different ITV region…
Now, for some reason I believed that “Do not adjust your set” type messages were actually there, because if you DID adjust your set, it would blow up., so every time something like this happened when I was a youngster, it used to scare me. Obviously, it’s 2020, and I now know that faults like this were caused by a master tape fault, or a dirty video head… either way, something was causing the video player to lose its tracking, and not able to keep the correct tape speed. Two memories of the show stuck with me… that fault, and the last episode of season 1 where “the hut bornt doon”. Oh, and of course, the theme music.
In (possibly) the summer of 1988, ITV started to show abridged 30 minute episodes, cutting the 1-hour long episodes in half. I remember watching, and liking the show, and also the two theme songs. It was one of the few shows at the time that used a completely different theme for the beginning of the show, and the end. I still have recordings of the theme that i’d grab off the telly, holding the tape recorder up to the telly. At the end of these episodes, the announcer would remind us that the soundtrack was available to purchase on LP.
Later that year, one of Chad’s freinds, Darren, who was several years older than me, said he had the afore-mentioned LP, and would I like a copy. Well. Of course I would. I handed him a cassette tape, and he returned, a few days later, with this…
The writing’s mine, by the way, written several years later
It’s a very old photo, and again, I’m sure I’ve blogged about this before, but bollocks to it, I might touch on something I missed out previously. Plus, seeing as we’re in lockdown, it’s something to do, innit?
This was the night before I was going away for my first holiday to Sandy bay, and obviously the tape would come away with me. It would be played in the car ad infinitum. The tape would return to Sandy Bay, up to our last visit in 1992.
Of course, I picked up the soundtrack album, both on CD and LP. I was surprised just ow many differences there were in the two.
So, onto the tracks themselves. I’m only going to concentrate on side 1 of the LP, as Side 2 is just incidental music from the show. Darren didn’t record this, as cassette tape was a finite resource at the time, and to be honest, it’s not particularly interesting unless you have a knowledge and interest of the show. I’m also going by the original LP, as the CD has some minor differences, mainly the track order and lengths.
01. THAT’S LIVING ALRIGHT
The end theme to Series 1. Released as a single, and got to, I believe number 3 on the charts. It was featured on Now That’s What I Call Music 2. There are three versions of this I know of. The first is the one used on 12 out of the 13 episodes of the show. Episode 10 uses a different revision. This is also the episode that broke down as mentioned above. I always assumed that the tape fault had damaged the audio, so they had to hurriedly re-record it for future showings. Turns out this wasn’t the case, as if you listen carefully, this is also playing that dodgy version, so I’m at a loss as to why this version is different.
The third version is the partially re-recorded one. A strange one this, as it exists back in 1984, it’s used in his TOTP performance. Every second line is re-recorded, and sounds different to the original. No idea why this version was used on TOTP, as the original version clearly still existed.
02. BREAKIN’ AWAY
This was the intro to the show, and stayed the same all the way through. the first episode’s version is edited, and omits the “Not tryin’ a run” section. the first episode does, however, have the full guitar instrumental. The record fades after 25 seconds where it ends after 36 seconds in the programme.
It was this exact song that got me into looking for full versions of songs. I’d listen each time it was on and see if they’d play an extra bit of that guitar instrumental. The CD version fades out even earlier.
03. BACK WITH THE BOYS AGAIN
Undoubtedly my favourite theme of the show. Chuggy electric guitars, hint of piano, a great little track. Used for series 2, and Slightly re-recorded for the show, depending on the length of the credits, with the final episode having it played in full.
The same version is on the CD release.
04. GET IT RIGHT
A completely different version was used on the show for most episodes. The version on the show is a re-recording. the drum track remains the same, but the vocal and guitar are slightly different, with a slow instrumental ending, This was never aired in full (though I can recall a very long version being played on one of the abridged 30-min episodes) – the longest version of this instrumental features in episode 10 (Scoop).
Episode 1 also uses a different version, but this never used the official intro. Episode 3 uses this released version, with the 2nd verse faded out and used as the instrumental
05. THE SEVEN AGAIN
Used in Series 2, episode 2, one of the two songs that was used just once in an episode, and also one of the few times were a song needed LESS cowbell. It was re-edited for the soundtrack with the cowbell dropped way back in the mix, a slightly different arrangement, and an instrumental added. Fades early on the CD release. Probably my least favourite of the 6, but it still has its own charm.
06 TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT
Featured in Series 2, episode 5 and the last time an original song would be used in this series. The LP has the complete version, the show uses the instrumental after the first verse and chorus. the CD cuts out most of the song.
So, in conclusion, if you were after this I’d track down the original LP (Towerbell Records (1986), AUF 2), failing that, the CD, if the above shortfalls aren’t much of a concern (Prestige Stage + Screen , CDSGP0201)
OK, so this isn’t technically the second day, I didn’t post anything yesterday or the day before, but meh. Sit down, as this one’s a long one.
Once again, this is an album I’ve talked about quite a few times (I’ve probably mentioned the title track many, many times), but I’ve never gon through exactly why I like this album, and considering we’re in lockdown still, I might as well go through every single little detail of why I liked the title song so much… Strap in, this is going to be a long one (that’s what she said!)
Way back in 1986, Bruce Hornsby released his debut album, and the lead single was its title track, The Way It is. I can pinpoint the first time I ever heard the song. It was a Sunday morning and I was 6, we were going along Davison Drive, past Holy Trinity church. I remember hearing the piano section in the chorus, and not liking it. That was that, or so I thought. As the months went by, it became to be used a lot on TV, especially the instrumetal sections. Out of a song that’s 4 minutes and 58 seconds in length, a good three minutes of it is fully instrumental. Its most prominent use was showing the football league tables on Grandstand, where the instrumental section at the end of the song was looped. By this time, I was about 7 or 8, and began to like the song. In fact, I loved it. Obviously, the never mentioned its name.
At that age, I couldn’t ask anyone what it was called. Nobody knew what I was on about. It began to become an obsession. I still have vivid recollections of Saturday afternoons, the smell of roast pork wafting through the house, the big light blaring in the living room because it was winter and getting dark at 4:45.
I heard it ONCE on the radio around that time. Going down Warren Road. For some reason, I thought it was called “Run For The Hills” or something like that. Obviously, that’d be a dead end. then, back in Xmas 1989, I caught part of the song on tape. At this point, I didn’t know if it was the right song or now. It was a piano instrumental, but part of the middle bit. In fact, the sectrion from 2:40 – 2:49 if you’re playing along at home. I played this tape to within an inch of its life, still not knowing if that was the song or not. Sometime after this, I got to learn the titile, sadly I can’t remember how. I think some kid sang it and played the piano on “Going Live”. No footage of this exists on Youtube that I can see.
April 1991. BBC’s coverage of the Grand National used a full portion of the song! I always tape the Grand National, so the video was ready. I rushed over, pressed record, aaaand I’d accidentally recorded Tyne Tees instead of BBC1. I could have cried. In fact, I probably did. What should have been the runners and riders played to this tune resulted in 2 minutes of The Chart Show. Aaargh. Was I ever going to get a decent recording of the song?
Some time later in 1991, I caught, purely by chance, the first 15 seconds. It was being used by TFM to advertise their “200 best songs”, where listeners would vote for their best songs. I still didn’t know if this clip was “The Way It Is” or not, after never hearing the intro. It did sound really similar through. For some reason, this was printed in the local paper. There it was! I finally had the name and the artist! Which… I promptly forgot. I guess when I was 11, I thought my short term memory was better than it is, and within minutes I’d forgotten. Bugger. No idea why I didn’t think of keeping that piece of paper, or at least write it down somewhere.
So, I was back to square 1. A couple of years passed, and we’re in 1993. I wqas spending a sunny Saturday out in the car with my dad. He used to mend and deliver tellies, so I would often join him in his jaunts around the north east. I would listen to the radio while he would go in, and do what he needed to do with the telly. The radio was tuned to Atlantic 252. All of a sudden, the intro came on. Oh my god. Would this be it? The song played, and I must have lost about half a stone, dancing around in the van. Both sections I had on tape were from the song! I was over the moon. Unfortunately, they had a habit of playing a bunch of songs then never saying the title and artist, exactly what they did in this situation. At least I knew of a radio station that had a copy.
I would then listen to Atlantic 252 at every given opportunity. One day, my dad was off work so he picked me up from school at lunchtime. On goes Atlantic 252, and on comes the song! It was a short drive, so we get home, I burst through the door, run upstairs and manage to get the last minute or so on tape! YES! Again, no artist or title. Damn you, afore-mentioned radio station! This time, I had enough audio to play people to see if they knew it. As I mentioned, this was 1993. It was after my mam had died, and my nanna was still living with us. We had a home help called Trina, who I played the song to… “Yeah, it’s Bruce Hornsby & The Range”. FINALLY! After years of searching, I finally had the artists’ name. I’d heard it a couple of times on the radio after that, again on this same station. I managed to tape a slightly longer portion of the song, albeit with a deafening high-pitched tome over the top of it. Atlantic 252 was broadcast from Ireland (hence its name) on long wave, so you’d often get plenty of interference on there. Now, to track down a copy.
Summer 1993 came. We’d planned a family trip to the lakes. A friend called Steven was going to come too, but the night before he spewed up a load of jumbo sausage and chips, so unfortunately couldn’t make it. The day went ahead anwyay, and was a pretty standard day out. Me and my dad ended up in a shop that sold tapes. There it was, the holy grail. An actual real, no foolin’ copy of the tape. Unfortuanely, this was at the end of the day. My money had dried up. I asked my dad if he could buy it for me, and I’d pay him back with what little pocket money I’d earn over the following couple of weeks. He refused. He wouldn’t even put it on his card, saying he didn’t have enough money on it. I was devastated, and I left, having to put the tape back from whence it came. It literally felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. Something I’d wanted for most of my childhood was right in my hands, and it was being denied.
I’ll never know if Daddykins had enough money on his card or not. He probably won’t remember anything of the day, but this hurt me pretty bad.
Fast forward a few months. December 9th 1993. This was not long after my birthday, and I finally had some money to call my own. I remember going to the shooping centre. This was my first visit to the shopping centre after the glass roof had been installed, and how bright and shiny it all looked. I went to Woolworths, and browsed the tapes section. There it was! And I finally had my own money to pay for it. BANG! DONE! My long search was over. A stereo, uninterfered copy of my favourite song. Ibviously, there were other songs on the album, which I’ll get to shortly.
That’s pretty much it. On Decmber 27th 1994, I tracked down a copy of the track on CD, thanks to Dino Entertainment’s “Rock Anthems”. Track 5, disc 2. I always remember the advert played a section of a house burning over the song. I later learned that this was never in the video, so no idea where they dragged that up from.
Obviously, I’ve picked up a CD copy of the album since then. In more recent times, it came back to prominence, thanks to 2Pac’s song “Changes”, which makes heavy use of Hornsby’s composition. Thanks to this resurgence, the song is no longer hard to track down, and is in every “classic hits” radio station’s playlist. For that reason, it doesn’t quite have the same impact to me that it once had, but I hope you found this interesting. Almost 1500 words in, and I haven’t even got the the actual album yet.
01. ON THE WESTERN SKYLINE
Interestingly, on all of the UK / European CD copies of this I’ve seen, has this titled as “On The Western Sklyline”. Even the re-released version with the 74321 catalogue number has this typo. The US pressings with the yellow back have the right spelling, so do all of the LP versions.
Anyway, it starts off with a country vibe. More fiddles than a [insert libellous joke here]. I like this one a lot more than I used to. Mentioned a streetlight. Gets a bonus point for that. Overall, a nice little song, even if it doesn’t seem to do anywhere.
02. EVERY LITTLE KISS
One of the songs off the album to be released as a single. This is the longest song on the album. It starts off with a piano intro very similar to “the Way It Is” According to Wikipedia, The introductory passage of the song quotes Charles Ives’s work “The Alcotts” (another wikipedia page says “Piano Sonata No 2” so fight amongst yourselves about which one is correct.
This was also the first song to be released as a single in the US, though it didn’t fare too well. It was released as a single over here too. The B side contains a different version of “The River Runs Low”… more on that later. The other track is an intrumental remix of “the Way It Is”. This also has piano instrumental sections, which are cut down for the 7″ single release. the 12″ has this full version on it. An instrumental version cann be found on the CD single of the next track, so with slightly different percussion, and about 20 seconds longer.
03. MANDOLIN RAIN
Arguably, Bruce’s second biggest hit, though it only reached 70 in the charts over here. Don’t mind it, but it does sort-of plod on a bit. The single version apparently checks in at just under 4 minutes long, and this one is just under 6.
04. THE LONG RACE
Another good, poppy little song. Guitar, accordion, drums… but no piano? The only song so far that doesn’t have a piano solo on it. Maybe on the entire album? Strange that all of the times I’ve listened to the album I’ve never noticed that before. And that’s side 1 complete, if you’re listening to the tape or album.
05. THE WAY IT IS
See above. I’m not going through all that again.
06. DOWN THE ROAD TONIGHT
Possibly my favourite song about going to see a prostitute ever (Sorry if you’ve turned of from a Google search for the phrase, you’re in for a disappointment). It’s “OK”, I guess, but a bit slow and doesn’t really go anywhere. If you play this song at 45PRM instead of 33RPM, it genuinely sounds much better. The exatra speed improves it immensely, and stops it feeling too “ploddy”. Features Huey Lewis on Harmonica and backing vocals
07. THE WILD FRONTIER
More of a country feel to this one, and a bassline that seems to get in the way quite a bit. I’m find it hard to find a track to skip with this album, but I’d probably have to go for this one, as it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the album. No piano in this one either. It sounds strangely disjointed.
08. THE RIVER RUNS LOW
The slowest track on the album, entirely piano, synth and vocal. It was never always like that, as the first pressing of the album has a different version on it, that has more of a beat to it. This alternate version is the one that’s featured on the B side to “every Little Kiss”. I can see why they re-recorded it though. Each album needs a slow ballady type track, and the original version doesn’t really do this.
09. THE RED PLAINS
Possibly my favourite song about someone’s house burning down. Or a wildfire. Not quite sure. If you flipped the “The Way It Is” single over, this is what you got. My second favourite track on the album by far. Probably the catchiest song and album Finished with a 90-second guitar and piano instrmental. A great way to close off the album.
Well, there we have it. This lockdown’s allowed me to dump more memories onto my blog. I’m pretty much burned out after three hours of typing, so I’m going to play some more pinball, and think of what to post tomorrow(ish). I’ve not really scanned it for typos either, so feel free to bombard the collents if you spot any. Ah, who am I kidding? Nobody’s read this far!
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…
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…
1. ON MOTHER KELLY’S DOORSTEP
2. BLESS THIS HOUSE
4. IF I WERE A RICH MAN
5. SUNSHINE OF YOUR SMILE
6. MATCHSTICK MEN
1. PEOPLE (WHO NEED PEOPLE)
2. WHAT I DID FOR LOVE
3. IT MUST BE HIM
4. LOVE IS ALL
6. FOR ALL WE KNOW
UPDATE 4/2/2017 – 2016 imagery for the houses, couple of typos fixed