From slap-bang in the middle of the dreaded 1980s, here’s Terry Hall’s post-Specials, post-Fun Boy Three project. I bought this cos I still have a soft-spot for the hit single “Thinking Of You” – an elegant, bossa-tinged slice of purest pop that seems a long way from the empty bombast of most of their contemporaries of that period. The whole album, produced by Hugh Jones, is still a pretty good listen, particularly the follow-up single “Castles In The Year”, with plenty of Terry’s sharp observational lyrics on offer.
Funnily enough I was reminiscing with some online friends recently about the Violent Femmes and their popularity amongst the alternative/goth communities of the mid-80s which we were loosely involved with. In particular the song “Add It Up” (‘Why can’t I get just one fuck’, etc etc) brings back some fond memories from that period, being a staple dancefloor hit at the sort of clubs I used to frequent back then. But the whole album is of a similar standard of ramshackle excellence.
This is the 1987 reissue on London Records, which is quite fitting for me because it would’ve been around that year when I was listening to the Femmes and this is probably the edition that most of my friends would’ve bought at the time, rather than the Slash Records original from ’83. This copy is in near-perfect condition, still in shrinkwrap and mine for just 49p. Lovely!
I’ve been a fan of the ‘Sulk’ album for many years, so its surprising really that I’d never explored The Associates’ 1980 debut. My expert-associate Farmer Glitch informs me that I have found the ‘best’ version of the album – apparently there is a later, re-recorded edition with different sleeve, that lacks the jagged edginess on display here. Bracing stuff, particularly Mr. Rankine’s vicious guitar lines!
Incidently, this record was in a terrible state when I found it, but I could tell that the filth was only skin-deep, and after a good clean the vinyl looks (and plays) almost good as new. A bit of elbow-grease goes a long way!
The charity shop where I bought this was trying to flog a tatty copy of Rubber Soul for £40! (and why would I wanna buy that when I can now buy the tracks for 99p each on itunes, eh?? – Macca and co. need your money!! Please buy the whole back catalogue in MP3 format now, before the copyright expires and all surviving Beatles and widows are reduced to paupers!!)
Anyway, I was really pleased to get this near-immaculate copy of Led Zeppelin II for 99p. It’s definitely not a first edition, but I suspect it is an early 70’s pressing, with lovely gatefold.