Pat Harris – Just For You

A couple of years ago, I had a couple of days away, travelling this wonderful country of ours. One particularly memorable stop was the beautiful fishing village of Grimsby, and there should be no surprise in the fact I frequented a couple of charity shops. Actually, no, read that as “every damn charity shop I could find until my feet bled, and the smell of fish drove me insane”.

During one of the last shops, I picked up a CD. A disc, full of mystique and wonder, and I thought deeply about how my life could continue in the same vein if I didn’t own this sultry lump of plastic and paper…. Ladies, gentlemen and miscellaneous, I bring you… Pat Harris – Just For You

Yes, I know what you’re all thinking. I need to invest in a new scanner that didn’t come from the 1980s.. Nope, that’s actually how the CD inlay looks. A photocopied piece of card, and on the back on this card is…

It should come as no surprise that these are the only ‘artwork’ on the case. The inlay card for the case is just a copy of that one above, but printed on A4 paper. Effort was made to get the spine label showing correctly, unfortunately, this was only achieved on one side of the case, the other one is a mile off.

The CD itself is, thankfully, an undecorated CD-R. I say ‘thankfully’ because, as you know, I’ve found that a lot of the CDs that have those CDR label stickers have all started to degrade over time.

I have, of course, googled the name, and have found a singer who released a couple of records in the 60s with the same name. I’m not sure if this could be the same person or not.

As you can probably tell, I’m holding off actually trying to listen to it. I mean, it’s two years since I purchased it. I’m donning the headphones, I’m pressing play, and…

… Oh, wow.

A song called “Losing You”. Now, I really don’t want to piss on Pat’s parade here. I don’t know this song, but there’s a warble in Pat’s voice that may, or not be close to the original record (I’m guessing these are all covers), but the amount of warble is almost offensive. A very cheap sounding backing track is playing. So far, this is everything I was expecting, and at the same time, everything I was dreading.

Track 2 is a cover of Buddy Holly’s “Bye Bye Love”, which, despite the Bontempi-quality backing track, I quite enjoyed. I liked that song anyway.

A few tracks in, I’ve noticed something. The entire album is recorded in MONO. I thought my headphones were on the wonk, but no. Audacity confirms every track is the same on both channels. A view of the waveform would also suggest that the backing track has a winder dynamic range than Pat’s vocals, suggesting either a really low quality microphone, or her vocals were recorded to something like a cassette tape before being inserted into the final project.

There seems to be an offensive amount of reverb used on every track, at least the ones I’ve dared listen to. It seems to ruin the vocals, and fair play to Pat, she’s knocked out a perfectly acceptable version of “Penny Arcade”, a standard that features on almost every one of these types of CD.

Track 7 is a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine”. A song I don’t particularly like at the best of times, and… I just can’t say anything good about this version either. The warbling is back. You know, I’ve never, ever done this, but I’ve purposely put on John Lennon’s version just to erase Pat’s version out of my mind.

So… yeah. I got to track 7. Sorry, not a fan, but I hope that some of Pat Harris’s fans do comment on this and share stories and history. I was genuinely amazed and humbled when Jean Bennet’s friends and family commented on my post about her, and I hope that Google’s search gods allow people to find info about this CD, and I get a similar amount of comments about Pat. Without the reverb, though.

Another CD lost to time… or is it?

Well, this is getting embarrassing now. Maybe I’ve just started noticing more of these, but I was in the charity shop just yesterday and I noticed yet another “injket warrior” CD. Good lord, I really need to come up with a better name for those. Any suggestions welcome in the comments. But for new viewers, these are basically bands, or individuals that release their own music on CDRs, before online streaming was a thing, and the disc covers and/or labels were produced on a consumer inkjet printer. I happened to be browsing the Alice House Hospice, in the lovely fishing village of Hartlepool, when this beauty emerged from the rows of bloody Perry Como and Il Divo…

This one instantly piqued my interest, namely “Okus Dolphin – Dark Sirens Of The night” . It was a single. Normally, these type of homebrew ones appear in the charity shops as albums. It also included a club mix of some sort, so it certainly wasn’t going to be your run-of-the-mill country CD or anything like that.

The case wasn’t in the greatest shape, but I could see, lying on the grey plastic tray underneath was my nemesis. A CD with another printed label. Well, how could I resist? Would it play? Under the shop lights it looked fine. No scratches, and no obvious damage. My heart was pounding with excitement, as I threw over a shiny pound coin to the shopkeep, who, before my interruption was carefully sticking coat hangers inside ladies’ clothers.

33p later, I took it home, went out for a few bevvies, came home and was excited to listen to it. I pressed play… My heart sank. There was the all-to-familiar audio crackle that proves, once again, the bloody CD label has ruined this otherwise perfect CD. I was gutted. I listened to track 1 through the crackles, namely “Dark Sirens Of The Night”. A catchy little number. No idea of the lyrics, or what it was about, but I really quite liked it (turns out the lyrics are printed on the inside ofn the sleeve… a nice touch!). A couple more plays… nope, no better.

Sadly, another one I didn’t get to in time.

As you can see from the disk, something odd appears. You can see the original branding of the CDR showing through. Not something I’ve noticed with other ruined CDs, but, yes, there are also the telltale black spots showing, and maybe it’s just the light in that photo, but the dye seems a little discoloured too. Thanks to the damage, I can see this was a “Master” branded CD-R, wich I believe were sold exclusively in Staples.

I wasn’t intending doing a write-up of this disk until much later, but then I noticed that Okus Dolphin was active on Twitter (it’s not X, it never will be X), 21 MINUTES before I listened to the CD… considering this disk is now 23 years old, I didn’t expect that.

Turns out, this is the first case where a ruined disc isn’t lost media! Apparently, all of the tracks are available on Spotify, thanks to an album dated 2008

There’s a demo version of “Dark Sirens Of The Mind” on there too, but it also seems the tape was used as a multitrack or a drum loop too, so it’s pretty unlistenable.

Overall, it’s a shame the CD didn’t survive, but I’m over the moon that I’d discovered a catchy, original song I actually like. I don’t expect that to happen too often during this journey.

Another CD gone to the charity shop in the sky

Rotting CDRs are starting to get on my nerves now.

I don’t find one for years, and then I find two within a week. Same issue as before. Paper label, destroyed data.

This one’s by a band called “Scarlet Renegade”… and unfortunately, that’s all I can really tell you. The cover of the CD features a Myspace link, which, of course, no longer works. The only other information is who was in the band, and even then, it’s just first names and nicknames…

Stu – Vocals
Dan – Guitar
Chris – Bass, Vocals
Spud – Drums.

The CD comes presented in a slimline jewel case, like you’d get back in the day when you’d pick up a pack of CDRs. The cover design is relatively simple, though the inlay is professionally printed.

As mentioned, there’s a Myspace link at the bottom of the sleeve. Of course, it didn’t survive the great Myspace purge, so the link no longer works. I did find an article in the Northern Echo, where they’re mentioned for performing at the ‘Newblood Festival’, but sadly no music. And I quote…

The bands for the evening’s entertainment were Scarlet Renegade, Bubblegum Thrash, Girls Last Choice and Midterm Break. Both Scarlet Renegade and Bubblegum Thrash performed good opening sets, Scarlet Renegade certainly took my fancy (although I must admit I did see them play excellently at Richmond Live in the summer)

I’ve found no more info about the band. The name coincides with something from World Of Warcraft, so obviously that’s taken priority over a small indie band from Darlington.

The annoying thing is, this particular disk partially works. It rips, but barely. You can actually hear the music on it, there’s just a lot of distortion, as if you’re listening to it on a radio that’s picking up interference from a nearby washing machine. There’s lots of hiss on it, and the guitars probably sound a bit more crunchy than they’re supposed to be. I’ve ripped it a few times now, and I think I’m going to get it as good as it’s ever going to sound.

And following on from the previous ‘Rotten CD’ post, I tried that “Serving Suggestion” disk on another machine (and another piece of software) and again, got nothing. Couldn’t even get the first track to read, therefore I’m giving up hope of it ever working. Turns out there was an entry on Discogs for that particular CD, so I’ve scanned the covers though and uploaded them, so at least the nicely designed cover hasn’t been lost to time, even if the actual music inside certainly has.

I’d love to read any comments you have on Scarlet Renegade, and any history of the band.