Thursday, 17 January 2019

It's nice to be in love again - The Swarbriggs plus two

The Irish entry in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1977 was performed by the Swarbriggs Plus Two. Following on from The Swarbriggs' first appearance at the Contest two years earlier, Thomas (Tommy) and John James (Jimmy) Swarbrigg recruited Nicola Kerr and Alma Carroll to form the bizarrely named quartet The Swarbriggs Plus Two. They were dressed in dark blue outfits, with the two men wearing their blazers of that colour over white suits.


The song was performed first on the night. At the close of voting, it had received 119 points, placing third in a field of 18 competitors.

My collection: 7" single no. 5983
Found: Discogs.com, received January 16, 2019
Cost: 2 pounds
Tracks: 'It's nice to be in love again' / 'Here we are again'

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Rayo de luna - Matia Bazar

The Italian band Matia Bazar has had a few hits in Europe, but their participation in the Eurovision Song Contest seems to have been forgotten by many. In 1979 they represented Italy with the song 'Raggio di luna'.

They recorded the song both in Italian and in Spanish - and the single containing the Spanish version appeared when I was ordering some singles from Spain recently. Of course I wanted to have it, because it's always a delight when an artist records their own song in a different language.

My collection: 7" single no. 5981
Found: Discogs.com, received January 4, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Rayo de luna' / 'Esta tarde... Que tarde'

Estoy sonando - Abba

'Estoy sonando' is of course the Spanish version of 'I have a dream'. With the help of Buddy and Mary McCluskey the ballad was turned into a warm-blooded version for the Spanish speaking market.

I ordered this single along with a few others from Spain. The problem with online ordering is illustrated right here: this was by far the worst sleeve of the whole package. You can't always know what you'll get. The might be an occasion to replace this single, but I am not rushing it. For now this is good enough to have - a nice curiosity doesn't always need to be perfect.

My collection: 7" single no. 5980
Found: Discogs.com, received January 4, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Estoy sonando' / 'As good as new'

Que mas quisiera yo - Massiel

Spanish singer Massiel won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1968 with the song 'La la la'. It was a much-criticised win, which 40 years later was revealed to be fraudulent. Whatever the facts, 'La la la' remains a curiosity: in a contest that has given us many 'la's through the years, this song probably used that two letter word the most.

I didn't know until recently that a live version of the song existed and was put on a B-side of a single. In 1985, Massiel, who was still a performing artist in Spain after all those years, released 'Que mas quisiera yo', with 'La la la' in a live version on the B-side.

My collection: 7" single no. 5979
Found: Discogs.com, received January 4, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Que mas quisiera yo' / 'La la la (live)'

Dame! Dame! Dame! - Abba

Abba was a successful band, but while they were having success in Europe and beyond, they also achieved quite a bit in the Spanish-speaking world. They translated some of their songs and released them as a single in those countries as well.

Obviously, since these singles were never released around these parts, I never actually bought them. Since I recently completed my collection of 'normal' Abba singles, these rarities have started to catch my eye. I recently acquired two Spanish Abba singles, and this the first of them: 'Dame! Dame! Dame!' is the Spanish version of 'Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!'. Although it is not among their most successful singles, it has always been one of my own favourites, and hearing it in Spanish is something special.

My collection: 7" single no. 5978
Found: Discogs.com, received January 4, 2019
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Dame! Dame! Dame!' / 'The king has lost his crown'

Monday, 31 December 2018

Come on to me / I don't know - Paul McCartney

I am closing the year on this blog with a single from this year! And that's become a rarity, because really there haven't been a lot of good vinyl singles out this year. In fact, I've only bought three: David Bowie and Mylene Farmer being the previous two.

A lot of publicity was given to the new album 'Egypt station' by Paul McCartney. He promoted the album by appearing in a car with James Corden and talking about his time in the Beatles, and giving several interviews in 'serious' music publications in which he was talking about his time in the Beatles. Not a lot of attention went to his new material. This single deserves some attention, though. 'Come on to me' was preferred by most, but I prefer the other A-side: 'I don't know', which Paul shows a more vulnerable side of himself. I like McCartney best when he's not rocking and rolling.

My collection: 7" single no. 5971
Found: Amazon, received December 22, 2018
Cost: 10 pounds (I know, it's ridiculous)
Tracks: 'Come on to me' / 'I don't know'

We'll be dancing - Time Bandits

The 12" single of 'We'll be dancing' treats the listener to three versions of the song. All three remixes were made by Rutger Kroese, which causes the 12" single to become a bit repetitive.

Having posted a lot of Time Bandits 12" singles on this blog recently, I can't help but being surprised that none of these have ever appeared on CD or even on those streaming services that seem so popular these days. It just goes to prove that nothing beats a good record collection: you get to own the music you like instead of relying on incomplete online collections.

My collection: 12" single [unnumbered]
Found: Discogs.com, received 16 August 2017
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'We'll be dancing (club remix)' / 'We'll be dancing (dub remix)', 'We'll be dancing (reprise)'

Only a fool - Time Bandits

There have been some Time Bandits 12" singles on this blog recently, but it appears I forgot to post a few. So here goes: I bought 'Only a fool' last year as part of a stack of Time Bandits 12" singles. I bought the 7" single in 2010, despite not knowing the song too well.

This 12" single contains an extended remix with a beautiful instrumental intro. It is an improvement on the single version, I think.

My collection: 12" single [unnumbered]
Found: Velvet Vinyl Outlet, Leiden, July 14, 2017
Cost: 2,5 euro
Tracks: 'Only a fool (extended remix)' / '1 2 3'

I'm not afraid - Black

I couldn't let the year pass without sparing a thought for Colin Vearncombe, the sole member of the band Black, who tragically died in January 2016. My collection of his records is pretty complete, but once in a while I still find a version I don't have yet.

Like this Japanese single of 'I'm not afraid'. I love Japanese singles for their beautiful appearance (a vinyl single in a record company sleeve with an insert that usually contains some Japanese translation of the lyrics). Curiously, there are no Japanese 7" singles of 'Sweetest smile' and 'Wonderful life', so this single appears to be a one-off.

My collection: 7" single no. 5948
Found: Recordsale.de website, received November 3, 2018
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'I'm not afraid' / 'Have it your own way'

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Go for it! - Risqué

Risqué's 1984 single 'Go for it' was produced by Sander Bos and Ben Liebrand. I bought the 7" single in 2009, and almost a decade later I found a cheap copy of the 12" single.

It features two remixes of the track: the long version and the dance version. There are many similarities between the two, but then they were presumably both created by the same remixer. The track times on the sleeve are incorrect: the remixes clock in at 7 minutes and 6 minutes and 50 seconds respectively.

My collection: 12" single [unnumbered]
Found: Discogs.com, received December 22, 2018
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Go for it! (Long version)' / 'Go for it! (Dance version)'

Shine for tomorrow - Gili & Galit

The 1989 Eurovision Song Contest became immortal for me because I managed to find a CD featuring almost all of the songs from that year, and I played it almost constantly during that year. Those songs have become a firm part of my memory and I would be very happy to find all the singles that were released.

To prove that it's not the easiest task, I have seen some of them online for ridiculous prices. This Israeli entry commands prices of at least 14 euros these days, so I was very lucky to find a copy for less recently. 'Shine for tomorrow' is a reasonably good song, marred only by the young boy who probably only competed for his 'cute factor', not for his ability to sing well.

My collection: 7" single no. 5968
Found: Discogs.com, received December 7, 2018
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Shine for tomorrow' / 'Derech ha'melech'

Chance in time - Severine

When Severine won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1971 with 'Un banc, un arbre, une rue', she also recorded the song in other languages. I already found the German version ('Mach die Augen zu (und wünsch dir einen Traum)') in 2010, and yesterday I suddenly found the English version. 'Chance in time' was released in several countries, and this is the Dutch pressing.

Now all that's left for me to find is the Italian version, 'Il Posto'. I am sure it will come to me some day.

My collection: 7" single no. 5977
Found: Top 2000 café, Circus, Den Haag
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Chance in time' / 'Nothing bad can be this good'

O Supermarkt - Rudolf de Robot

The joke will be lost on those who can't understand Dutch, but this song is as ridiculous as the title sounds: 'O Supermarkt' ('O Supermarket') is a parody of the Laurie Anderson song 'O Superman'. While that is a truly magnificent song, it is almost too easy to make fun of the repeating 'ah ah ah' sound in it.In this parody, Rudolf the Robot goes into the supermarket to search for chicken soup. Of course it is hard to find, like anything in any supermarket. And then of course the battery runs low... To fully appreciate the joke, you'll have to learn Dutch.

I knew about this song almost immediately after it came out, but never came across a cheap enough copy. Until yesterday.

My collection: 7" single no. 5976
Found: Top 2000 café, Circus, Den Haag
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'O Supermarkt' / 'Mag ik even uw aandacht?'

Without you - David Bowie

In my mind, only three singles were ever taken from David Bowie's 1983 album 'Let's Dance': the title track, 'China Girl' and 'Modern Love'. And then I saw this single yesterday: 'Without you'. The sleeve looked vaguely familiar - because of the Keith Haring artwork I bet - but otherwise I have no recollection of this ever being released.

Sure enough, the single only charted in the US Billboard Hot 100, reaching a lowly number 73. Both the A- and B-side appear on the album. And unusually, the guitar riff on 'Criminal World' sounds a lot like the one in Dutch band Frank Boeijen Groep's 'Doe iets'. Or was it the other way around? Probably...

My collection: 7" single no. 5975
Found: Top 2000 café, Circus, Den Haag
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Without you' / 'Criminal world'

Dancing queen - Abba

The compilation album 'Abba Gold' may be one of the most successful compilation albums of all time. Released in 1992, it was the catalyst of a reappreciation of Sweden's most successful export product. Before 1992, the band was snubbed by all 'serious' music lovers, but ten years after the band's unofficial breakup, it had become clear that their pop music stood the test of time and perhaps sounded as modern as anything that was in the charts during the Nineties.

'Dancing queen' was released as the first single from 'Abba Gold', and again became a hit. I didn't buy this single back then, because I already owned a copy of the original 'Dancing queen', but over time I started to regret that decision. These days it's not easy to get hold of those 'Abba Gold' single, but I finally found a copy yesterday... and of course I leapt at the chance.

My collection: 7" single no. 5974
Found: Top 2000 café, Circus, Den Haag
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Dancing queen' / 'Lay all your love on me'

The angels cry - Agnetha Fältskog

My second find in the circus tent yesterday was this single by Agnetha Fältskog. I have always had an interest in Abba and, slighly less important, its individual members. 'The angels cry' was written by Justin Hayward and released in 1985 as a single from Agnetha's solo album 'Eyes of a woman', the follow-up to the more successful solo album 'Wrap your arms around me'.

I was shocked to find out that the single is for sale online for prices upwards of 86 UK pounds. It is a nice single, but it doesn't warrant such a high price. That said, if someone offers me a 100 euros for this one, it may not be in my collection for long...

My collection: 7" single no. 5973
Found: Top 2000 café, Circus, Den Haag
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'The angels cry' / 'We move as one'

Whatever happened to Benny Santini? - Chris Rea

During my life I have shopped for singles in many strange places. Yesterday was a very strange one indeed. Two days ago I went to the circus with my daughters, and discovered a record shop inside the tent. Turns out the organiser of the circus also acquired a record collection, to sell during the event until today. With two children by my side I didn't have time to browse all the singles, and so I went back yesterday.

My first find was immediately a good one: this Chris Rea single on red vinyl. Released in the UK in 1978, this track, the title track of Rea's debut album, was an unsuccessful follow-up to 'Fool (If you think it's over)'. The single did reach number 71 in the US Billboard Hot 100 for some curious reason.

My collection: 7" single no. 5972
Found: Top 2000 cafe, Circus, Den Haag
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Whatever happened to Benny Santini?' / 'Three angels'

Friday, 28 December 2018

All the love I have - Marty Wilde

Marty Wilde released 'All the love I have' in 1969, after he had some success in Europe with his single 'Abergavenny'. The album 'Diversions' (from which the B-side 'Any day' was taken) had not been as successful, but Marty was still at it, writing great songs and recording them himself. Unfortunately this single did not chart, despite the fact that he revealed himself to be quite the singer once again.

This single and 'The busker' (which I am still searching for) represent probably some of the rarest Marty Wilde singles, because only one run was made and they appear online for fairly high prices if they do at all. This is why I am glad to have obtained this single - I am nearing completion.

My collection: 7" single no. 5969
Found: Discogs.com, received December 24, 2018
Cost: 4 pounds
Tracks: 'All the love I have' / 'Any day'


Sunday, 9 December 2018

Chiquitita (cantado en español) - Abba

I have memories of Abba premiering 'Chiquitita', the song they wrote for Unicef, which was performed at a special concert and broadcast everywhere including the Netherlands. I was only eight years old but somehow the moment stuck in my head. I was never too fond of the song: compared to their earlier songs it was too schmaltzy, too kitsch and too slow for my taste. There was of course one exception: the last few seconds of the song with the impressive piano solo.

Being an Abba fan - and having been one for over forty years now, I am proud to say - I have recently acquired all the original German singles of them. It started when I bought the singles box set and saw all these replicas, and I wanted to have the originals as well. I found most of them for less than a euro, and some of them cost a little more - but I am very satisfied to have them all now. I have started looking into the rarer singles - as long as they are not insanely expensive, like most 'weird' Abba singles tend to be.

This Spanish version of 'Chiquitita' is my most recent Abba acquisition. I couldn't fault the price and it was nice to reacquaint myself with this little beauty. I think I like the Spanish version a little better than the original version, in fact!

My collection: 7" single no. 5964
Found: Discogs.com, received December 7, 2018
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Chiquitita (cantado en español)' / 'Lovelight'

Toi - Geraldine

After Abba won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, some countries were quick to adapt to the new times... and others were not. The Netherlands almost copied the style of that song, 'Waterloo', and won the contest.

Other countries weren't so smart and went ahead the way they always had, with boring ballads and incomprehensible lyrics. One of them was Luxembourg's Geraldine Brannigan with the song 'Toi'. She still managed to reach fifth place in a field of 19 competitors.

My collection: 7" single no. 5967
Found: Discogs.com, received December 7, 2018
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Toi' / 'C'est mon secret'

Popcorn festival - Mat Camison

I have a lot of versions of the immortal Gershon Kingsley composition 'Popcorn', but there are very few with lyrics as it was originally an instrumental track. Mat Camison recorded this version in 1974 and it features French lyrics. Not that they make any sense: apparently it's all about girls and guys hanging out at the Woodstock festival and cops who apparently don't like the music.

I found this single by accident, browsing the stock of one of those online vendors you have to check out these days because there are no record stores anymore. It's hard to find anything by accident unless, like me, you have lots of weird little sub-collections in your record collection.

My collection: 7" single no. 5966
Found: Discogs.com, received December 7, 2018
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Popcorn festival' / 'Ma fleur d'amour'


You're hurting me - Dora

In 1986, Portugal was represented at the Eurovision Song Contest by Dora Maria Reis Dias de Jesus (born 1966), simply called Dora for the occasion. She sang the song 'Não sejas mau para mim', written by Guilherme Inês, Zé Da Ponte and Luís Manuel de Oliveira Fernandes. The song finished in 14th place in a field of 20 competitors.

For this single release, the song was translated by Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey and called 'You're hurting me'. It was released in several European countries but without any chart success.

My collection: 7" single no. 5962
Found: Discogs.com, received December 7, 2018
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'You're hurting me' / 'This will be the last time'

Sunday, 2 December 2018

That's what friends are for - Swarbrigg

When you listen to 'That's what friends are for', you hear it's a rather quaint, slightly boring song. You certainly wouldn't expect a band to win a song contest with it.

Thomas and John James Swarbrigg, two Irish music promoters, still got on with it and took it to the Eurovision Song Contest stage in 1975. Their performance was notable for the fact that the singers wore identical electric blue suits, taking full advantage of the increasing trend towards bright and eye-catching costumes. At the close of voting, they ended up in ninth place in a field of 19 competitors.

My collection: 7" single no. 5960
Found: Discogs.com, received November 30, 2018
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'That's what friends are for' / 'Love is'

Send me an angel 88 version - Real Life

The Australian band Real Life became one of the shooting stars of the year 1984 when they released 'Send me an angel'. In Germany they reached number 1 in the singles charts, and stayed there for four weeks.

In 1988, the band released a remixed version of the track. The single appeared on translucent red vinyl, making it more interesting for the record buying public. Still, this single didn't chart in Germany. The remix did fairly well in Australia and the USA, reaching number 51 and 26 respectively.

My collection: 7" single no. 5953
Found: Discogs.com, received November 14, 2018
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Send me an angel 88 version' / 'Send me an angel (Cloud nine mix)'
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