So, onto Day 3 now, and I’m taking my first excursion into the left-field, and talking about a band and album that I’m sure literally none of you have ever heard of, unless I’ve gnawed your ear off about them. or you’ve found this from a Google search result.
You’ll be happy to know that I expect this post to be a hell of a lot shorter than the previous one, but just to warn you, I’m going to get a little into detail about one particular song again.
If you have *ever* heard of this band, it’ll be for their 1988/89 single “Downtown”, and that’s probably because I’ve played you it. It seems to be a favourite among radio afficionados. Tom Davies (spit) used it as one of this musical “beds”. Ron “Boogiemonster” Gerber also has a very soft spot for this song (more on that later), and when Ron wasn’t available for a show one day, a fan of his stepped in and opened up with this song.
I’m going to talk in-depth about “Downtown” first of all. Track 6 on the album. This was how I discovered the band. I’ve definitely talked about this in the past, so I’m probably repeating myself.
The year is 1996. Daddykins picked myself and Chris up after school. You remember Chris. Mentioned him on here many times before. Yes, we’ve been friends for that long. Anyway. Daddykins had an errand to run. He needed a power supply from a place up near Washington. I remember, it was a cold winters’ day. Snow had drifted up against the fences on the way there, and everything looked ever so slightly wintry. I don’t particularly remember anything about the journey there other than the snow, but the power supply was acquired, and we were heading back.
TFM, the local radio station, was still in range at that point, and they had a daily quiz called “The 4 at 4”. Basically, 4 songs. Ring in and state the artist and title. Grab yourself a prize, maybe a CD or two. We were heading back, and a song came on the radio. Oh my. Slow piano intro. Synthy, slightly tinkly instruments, female vocals, extended piano section (which, I remember, we lost slightly as we went under a bridge)… It was like this song was performed just for me.
I was absolutely in love. Obviously, it was part of a quiz, so the DJ couldn’t just blurt the title out. I remember the guy ringing in, attempting to get the artist. He incorrectly guessed “SWV”. They did have a song called Downtown, but clearly wasn’t this one. The DJ naturally gave the right answers at the end of the ‘quiz’, so at least I didn’t have to search high and low for the title. Neither did I have to wait long for a slightly decent copy. No idea why, but whichever computer selects the records for the week inserted this one again a few days later, and I happened to get most of it on tape.
Tom Davies (c*nt) must have been listening at the time, as he began to use an edited “instrumental” version on his talk-in.
In a stroke of unbelieveable fortune, only a few months later, I was down the flea market one day and managed to pick out “Downtown”. I was absolutely over the moon. I didn’t have to spend years looking for a copy!
SO, that would be the end of the story. I had everything I wanted. That would be great if I wasn’t such a clumsy and/or untidy bastard. Somewhere down the line, I broke the record, chipped a great part out of it, and leaving a crack down the rest of the surface. Aaaaargh. It was still playable, if you missed the first minute or so out.
Gutted, and in search of a nother copy, I turned to Tom Davies. I rang the talk-in show, and asked where I could get a copy. He really was a knob about the whole thing, eventually cutting me off. Somewhere in the vast tape archives, I have that exact recording. I’ve never listened to it.
At some point, I did indeed pick up another copy, again from the very same flea market. Unfortunately, some of the pellets used to mould the record had not been melted correctly. Admittedly, it played on my older equipment, but a finely balanced tone arm would be more than likely sent into orbit. Bugger.
The internet era came, and more exactly, the ability to grab MP3s. WinMX was my piracy tool of choice at the time, and back then, everything came through a 56K modem. I’d wait hours, even days for one single song. Eventually, a decent copy of the song became available. One Friday night, Coatesy had came round (now there’s a name I’ve not mentioned for over a decade), and he was talking to me, just as the download had completed. His words were a blur. I finally had an unscratched, unbumped copy. After that, we ended up in my now long demolished local.
Thanks to the internet, I found of other versions of the record being available. Unlike “the Way It Is”, there are many different remixes of the song available
I weas going to do a breakdown of every track, but really it’s an academic excersise. Unless you have the CD or album, my whitterings about an album that’s been completely out of print for 30 years. Instead, I’ll continue talking about my searches for every version of “Downtown” available.
In Europe, it’s simple. You’ve got the 7″ / album version, and also the 12″ single version and instrumental version. All of these are available in the 4-track CD single version from Germany. This was nice and easy to pick up. It’s in the collection, it’s ripped as FLAC.
The UK version of the CD single is 3″ in size, as opposed to the standard 5″. If you ever look at the tray on a CD player, that’s what the indent is for. These small CDs. That’s another blog post in itself. Either way, forget the UK copy. It was printed by PDO, and the copy I own has >rotted and is unplayable. America and Canada had several different versions to contend with, all with the same design of cover, but in different colours, and also, slightly different lyrics. I’ve never been able to put together an exact timeline of recordings and releases of the song, but there are two distinct versions of the lyrics. This version features the line “Loosen up down in the village for a while, we can live a life of happiness and style”. The “main” 7″ and album mix mangles it slightly, to “Loosen Up (Wooo hoo hoo hoo hoo), we can live… etc” . I have no idea why this line was ovberdubbed.
Anyhoooooo, on to the different promo releases. Firstly, there’s the 12″ yellow cover, catalogue number SP-12297.
I have no way of checking, but This seems to be from an earlier release of the song. This record also features a 7″ version that’s different to the one finally released. There’s no long instrumental, and the percussion is different, sounding a lot more basic than the final version. The fade out is also slightly longer.
Secondly is the 1-track “blue cover” CD single, catalogue number CD 17708.
This is the standard “album” mix, but with an edited intro. The piano intro is cut down from 48 seconds to just 8 seconds. It’s not even subtle.
Right, onto the “RED” CD single.
Ohhh, and this is a story I never want to relive. If anyone asks about a low point in collecting CDs, this is it.
This single was the last piece of the puzzle. I had every other known release, and I’d searched high and low for a copy of this particular disc.
Let’s fly back to 2016. Ebay was a thing. It still is, but I’m trying to add depth to the story. Amazingly, up comes this particular red single. Meh, it’s an auction. I slap a bid of Â£1.50 on it, and away I go, doing whatever I was doing in 2016. Probably the same as what I’m doing right now, but with more clothes on.
Time passes, and so does my memory of checking my email. I’d totally forgot about bidding on this. 3rd September rolls along, and I get an unexpected email…
Thank you for your purchase. Details are provided below and your total amount due is Â£2.77.
Now, if I’d actually had been checking my specially set-up email that I use especially for my auctions, I’d be over the moon. Except, I didn’t.
The 5th September rolled along..
Thanks for your recent purchase on eBay! Please remember to pay for your item so that the seller can send it to you as soon as possible. Note: If you’ve already made payment arrangements with your seller, please disregard this reminder. Thanks again for shopping on eBay!
I’d still forgotten that I’d bidded on anything on ebay… On comes 7th September…
Seller has opened an unpaid item case for One 2 Many – Downtown [CD single]. They opened the case because they havenâ€™t received payment for the item.
Please pay by 11-Sep-16, so the seller can ship the item to you, otherwise, the seller can cancel this order.
Yep, I was still sound asleep.
11th September comes around… yes, a day that shall remain infamy for something else, but for me…
Payment for this item hasn’t been received during the past 8 days. [user] has cancelled the transaction, and you’re no longer entitled to receive the item. Also, an unpaid item has been recorded on your account.
Unfortunately, I haven’t kept records of the eact dates and times, but at some point a a few days after that, I emailed the seller. I explained I was a complete idiot, and if there was any chance of sending me the CD. Quite rightly so, he refused. I hold my hands up. It was my fuck-up It’s really one of those moments I still hit myself in the balls over. A genuine low point.
Years passed. I kept an open eye out for this CD. It would eventually turrn up for stupid money.
One day, I was browsing discogs, and a copy appeared. The very same “red” CD single I was after.Who happened to be selling it? Yup, none other than Ron “boogiemonster” Gerber. That was enough for me to click “purchase”. I think I’d been working some overtime (or I was very, very drunk), as the cost of the CD was $22, postage of $14.25, meaning a total of Â£28.62. Yikes.
Days passed, and I tracked the CDs location, as it made its way from the leafy subburbs of Minneapolis, to the quiet fishing village of Hartlepool. I soon ran into a problem. Customs. I didn’t even think of it at the time, but any goods over a vertain value entering the UK are subject to customs duties, and as luck would have it, my package had been stopped. As the CD had been given a commerial value of $50, this meant I had to pay roughly Â£18 in customs duty.
I’m pretty sure I screamed. This was a lot of money to lose, but at the end of the experience, I had a CD I wanted to own, from someone who I’ve spent many, many hours listening to.I’ll kick myself on spending Â£48 on a CD single that I could have had for under Â£3, but it’s a learning curve. It’s shit that happens if you’re a music hoarder, and now that I’ve publicly shared this, it’s a period I can put behi… Oh, wait. I haven’t even mentioned the single, have I?
The “Red” single is Track 1 from the yellow 12″ mix, and track 2 the early 7″ mix”.
Well, that concludes the post for now, as I really want to move onto another album. One that won’t be so “wordy” and has no relevance, as nobody knows the album. I’ll return to something more mainstream next. I could still talk about the song, and my discovery about the end of the song but this is has already gone on far too long, and is beginning to sound like the ramblings of a madman who has not left the house for four weeks The rest of the album isn’t too mad if you like late 80s stuff.