Sunday, 13 April 2014

Slave to the rhythm - Grace Jones

A deluxe cd version of her career-overshadowing album 'Slave to the rhythm' has still not been issued, so all we can do in the mean time is pick up all the releases and rip the tracks from vinyl. Such as this one, the 12" single of Grace Jones' album's title track. I couldn't find it for a long time, but I finally found a good copy today - and for a very reasonable price, too.

The sleeve doesn't give you much information about the tracks contained on this disc, so I turned to Discogs.com for help. Fortunately, there is a decent listing for this disc. The 'blooded' version on the A-side is probably the best version of 'Slave to the rhythm' I've heard in a long time, as it adds much interesting things to the all too familiar single version. As for the B-side... Well, experimentation can be fruitful sometimes.

My collection: 12" single no. 648
Found: Record fair, Utrecht
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Slave to the rhythm (blooded)' / 'Junk yard', 'Annihilated rhythm'

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Lover come back to me - Dead or Alive

Nobody suspected that Stock, Aitken and Waterman would dominate the pop charts for the next half of the Eighties when this single, 'Lover come back to me' was released back in 1985. It was the second big hit for the UK group Dead or Alive, which, like the previous single 'You spin me round', was produced by the infamous trio.

'Lover come back to me' packs a good punch and it is demonstrated even more firmly in this extended 12" version. The '7" bonus mix' included on the B-side is different from the 7" single version, so basically fans got two remixes for their money. Which was never a bad thing in those days.

My collection: 12" single no. 649
Found: Record fair, Utrecht
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Lover come back to me (extended version)' / 'Far too hard', 'Lover come back to me (7" bonus mix)'

It ain't necessarily so - Bronski Beat

Bronski Beat had already had two hits in 1984 when they released 'It ain't necessarily so', a cover of the George and Ira Gerschwin classic. The song questions the authenticity of biblical tales; the song is a metaphor for African-Americans questioning slavery, Jim Crow and oppression in the USA as the natural order of things. The single reached the UK Top 20.

This 12" single features a slightly longer version of the track as well as two more dance-oriented B-side tracks.

My collection: 12" single no. 647
Found: Record fair, Utrecht
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'It ain't necessarily so' / 'Close to the edge', 'Red dance'

Waterloo - Lecia & Lucienne

It's a special year for Abba fans, as 'Waterloo' is celebrating its 40th birthday. Even back in 1974, the song was used as a vehicle by other stars to have a go at chart success. Take for instance the Danish sisters Lecia & Lucienne Jönsson. They started to compete in talent shows in 1961 and won no less than 43 of them. In 1964, they released their debut album.

Ten years later, they recorded this cover version of Abba's winning Eurovision song. You can hear how the production of this version is not quite up to the original, but it is still interesting to hear how a song is used and changed this way, only weeks after its release.

My collection: 7" single no. 5360
Found: Record fair, Utrecht
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Waterloo', 'Kom - tag min hand'

Video video - Brixx

Denmark was represented in the 1982 Eurovision Song Contest by the group Brixx. The group members were Jens Brixtofte (brother of the Danish politician Peter Brixtofte), John Hatting, Torben Jacobsen, Steen Ejler Olsen and Bjørn Holmgård Sørensen. Their song 'Video video' was a praise of the then-new technology of video recorders, with the singer describing the wealth of viewing he has on tape — everything from Humphrey Bogart to Wimbledon. Indeed, he remarks that "Susanne" (possibly a lover) has left him for fear that his viewing habits have made him "not all normal".

The song ended up 17th in the contest,  receiving 3 points from Portugal and 1 point each from Sweden and Ireland. Only Kojo from Finland did worse, receiving no points at all.

My collection: 7" single no. 5359
Found: Record fair, Utrecht
Cost: 2 euro
Tracks: 'Video video' / 'I wanna dance med dig'

Radio bonheur - Herve Cristiani

With Kate Bush concerts in sight, it's no surprise I started looking for some Kate Bush records at the record fair in Utrecht today. I have many of them and the ones I saw that were slightly interesting were way too expensive. But this single was a good find. I knew that Herve Cristiani had recorded a track called 'Kate Bush', and I'd even heard it, but I didn't know it was released on a single. On the B-side, but hey, I'm not complaining - I'm buying!

Herve Cristiani was born on November 8, 1947 in Paris, France. His debut album was released in 1975. This single comes from his fourth album, 'Il est libre Max', released in 1981.

My collection: 7" single no. 5358
Found: Record fair, Utrecht
Cost: 4 euro
Tracks: 'Radio bonheur' / 'Kate Bush'

Da da da ich lieb dich nicht du liebst mich nicht aha aha aha - Trio

The German band Trio constructed the early synthpop hit 'Da da da' with a Casio VI-Tone and some bits of German dialogue. It was a hit not only in Germany, where the 'Neue Deutsche Welle' was making waves, but also in other European countries and even in UK, where German acts were rarely found in the charts (although Boney M had considerable success in the Seventies...)

This 12" single presents a six minute remix (or 'extended version') of the track and two quite funny, almost punk-inspired, B-sides.

My collection: 12" single no. 646
Found: Record fair, Utrecht
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Da da da ich lieb dich nicht du liebst mich nicht aha aha aha', 'Frau A spricht ich lieb dich nicht du liebst mich nicht' / 'Halt mich fest ich werd verrückt', 'Lady-o-lady'

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Valentine's day - David Bowie

Another single from David Bowie's most recent album 'The next day', 'Valentine's day' was released as a picture disc in a partly transparent sleeve with the lyric of the song printed on it. This single actually comes with a B-side, although 'Plan' is just a short instrumental piece.

What's on the picture disc? I was wondering about that for a while, but then I realised: the album sleeve of 'The next day' uses the artwork of Bowie's album 'Heroes', and the picture disc here shows the right and left hand from that album artwork. Another clever design.

My collection: 7" single no. 5357
Found: Head, Bristol, December 18, 2013
Tracks: 'Valentine's day' / 'Plan'

The next day - David Bowie

The surprise comeback of David Bowie at the beginning of 2013 was something that took hold of the 'serious' music press all through the year. Bowie didn't do many interviews, there were some music videos but that was about it. Oh, and of course: the Japanese edition of the album had four bonus tracks whereas the European one had only three. Having ordered the Japanese edition from Europe, the end of the year came with the announcement of a "special edition" with all the tracks included and more. Nice going...

Anyway, the title track was released as a single on a white square disc. The transparent sleeve featured the title and credits, so the disc was indeed completely white. Clever design. Just a shame that the disc features the same track on both sides.

My collection: 7" single no. 5356
Found: Head, Bristol, December 18, 2013
Tracks: 'The next day' / 'The next day'

Change - Tears for Fears

The single Change was originally released as a single from Tears for Fears' debut album 'The hurting', and apparently there were different versions of the sleeve. When 'The hurting' was released as a boxed 3cd-1dvd deluxe edition, this new 7" single was offered by Universal as a limited edition bonus, featuring a reprint of a rare sleeve. Indeed, I've never seen this sleeve before, so it is probably pretty rare.

The tracks on this single are identical to the original release: 'Change' from the album and the intriguing B-side, 'The conflict'.

My collection: 7" single no. 5355
Found: Universal mail order, November 2013
Cost: nought, but the box set wasn't cheap of course.
Tracks: 'Change' / 'The conflict'

Hiroshima - Wishful Thinking

Here's another track I already had on 7", but with added Nineties pleasure. 'Hiroshima' by Wishful Thinking was re-released with a 90's mix after German singer Sandra had released her cover version of the song as a single. This single - which comes with a promotional fact sheet, by the way - presents both the original version of the song plus a remix by Dave Morgan.

Who's Dave Morgan, you ask? He was a guitarist with Electric Light Orchestra from 1981 to 1986 and also the original writer of the song, recorded by Wishful Thinking back in 1970.

My collection: 7" single no. 5354
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 24, 2013
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Hiroshima (originalversion)' / 'Hiroshima (90er mix)'

Angelina - Matia Bazar

I already have a version of Angelina in my collection, but this one was pressed on red vinyl, and that is always a good excuse to buy another copy.

Fortunately, this single also comes with a different B-side, and I have to say I rather like that song. Matia Bazar have always been good at crafting melodic songs, and 'Cose' is a good example of what these Italians can do, aided with synths, drum computers and layered vocals.

My collection: 7" single no. 5353
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 24, 2013
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Angelina' / 'Cose'

Lido shuffle - Boz Scaggs

One of the songs that defined the year 1977 for me was What can I say by Boz Scaggs. Don't know why, I probably heard it a lot back then - courtesy of my sister. Another single from the same album was 'Lido shuffle', which was not as big a hit in the Netherlands, but it was still well-known.

This version of the single is a German promotional 7", with a white label. Shameful fact: I actually thought this was a different song, but I don't know the title of that one now. Fortunately, this track is another one I vaguely recall from the old days...

My collection: 7" single no. 5352
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 24, 2013
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'Lido shuffle' / 'Love me tomorrow'

One love to give - Stephanie

At the turn of the year I saw Stephanie in the audience of the annual Circus show from Montreux. She looked a bit old, much older than when she released her debut album back in 1986. That's logical, I guess. Back in 1986 the old comment 'she looks better than she sings' was very much in play. I wonder if that is still the case right now.

Anyway, I have most of the singles from that debut album, but this one is a rarity: a promotion single released in Germany, featuring both the English and French versions of the song 'Flash'.

My collection: 7" single no. 5351
Found: Record fair, Utrecht, November 24, 2013
Cost: 1 euro
Tracks: 'One love to give' / 'Flash'

Un poco de paz - Nicole

So when you have Ein Bisschen Frieden, A little peace, La paix sur terre, Een beetje vrede and En smule fred, there's only one more version of 'Ein Bisschen Frieden' to get hold of: 'Un poco de paz' of course. It's the Spanish version of the 1982 Eurovision winner, and I have searched for this one for years. Try it yourself: when you come across it online it's a pretty expensive item.

At the Record Fair in Utrecht, which takes place every six months, I never saw this single before either, but during the last edition I was finally lucky. If the price seems a bit high to you, you have to consider that shipping is usually part of the deal when ordering online. So I think I still got a good deal. Now I'll never have to buy a Nicole single anymore...

My collection: 7" single 5350
Found: Record fair, Utrecht
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Un poco de paz' / 'Thank you, merci, danke'

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Love me love my dog - Peter Shelley

This single caught my attention because I own several singles which were written by Marty Wilde and Peter Shelley. When I checked out the label, I found out that 'Love me love my dog' was another song written by the duo. Being quite interested in the Wilde dynasty, I had to buy this single of course!

Peter Shelley entered the UK music industry in 1965 working initially as a song plugger with the music publisher, Chappell & Co. He then joined EMI as personal assistant to their chief songwriter/record producer Norman Newell, his responsibilities covering various aspects of music co-ordination, production and administration. He later joined Decca Records as a talent scout, discovering for the label Amen Corner, Ten Years After and Giles, Giles and Fripp — the nucleus of a band later to be called King Crimson. He left Decca in 1968 to become an independent writer/producer, working with other writers such as Ben Findon and Marty Wilde. He had several minor European single hits during this period.

In 1973 Shelley co-founded Magnet Records with Michael Levy. Shelley's role was that of director of A&R and Levy's as president/general manager/administrator. Shelley wrote, produced and sang Magnet's first release "My Coo Ca Choo" which reached number 2 in the UK Singles Chart and number 1 in many other countries. Magnet became one of the UK's most successful independent record labels under Shelley's creative direction. He also helped sign Guys 'n' Dolls and Chris Rea to the label. Shelley was presented with the Ivor Novello Award in 1975 for his services to the UK music industry. However, due to differences between Levy and himself, Shelley resigned from Magnet in late 1975 to pursue an independent career. He now lives in Canada and works primarily as a songwriter.

My collection: 7" single no. 5347
Found: Record fair, Den Haag, October 19, 2013
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Love me love my dog' / 'My sweet Deutsche friend'

Cent mille chansons - Frida Boccara

Although Casablanca-born Frida Boccara was already a big star in France since her debut in 1960, she was introduced to an international audience with this single, 'Cent mille chansons'. A year later, she was one of four acts to win the Eurovision Song Contest when she sang 'Un jour, un enfant', but despite this, 'Cent mille chansons' remains her best known song. It makes an appearance in the Dutch Top 2000 of all times every year since 1999, with number 622 as its highest place back in 2006.

My collection: 7" single 5348
Found: Kringloop, Den Haag, October 19, 2013
Cost: 0,25 euro
Tracks: 'Cent mille chansons' / 'Je ne veux pas te dire adieu'

Gonna get along without you now - Viola Wills

I was quite amazed to see this sleeve and not recognise it. It meant, under normal circumstances, that I didn't have this song (I have been fooled by my photographic memory many times, because some singles appeared in different sleeves). Viola Wills' 'Gonna get along without you now' is one of those late Seventies disco records that wasn't the biggest hit but still sounds so familiar because it was played a lot on the radio both in 1979 when it came out and in later years.

The song is actually a disco cover version of a song written by Milton Kellern in 1951. The original version was recorded by Teresa Brewer and released in early 1952. It was recorded as a big band 'swing' track. The track was subsequently covered by countless others, including Chet Atkins, Trini Lopez, Bad Manners and UB40.

My collection: 7" single no. 5349
Found: Kringloop, Den Haag, October 19, 2013
Cost: 0,25 euro
Tracks: 'Gonna get along without you now' / 'Your love'

Friday, 30 August 2013

Kids in America - Radio Wendy

I don't buy a lot of 7" singles these days, but every now and again I find something online that I've been looking for. This single first came to my attention last year. It was another cover version of Kim Wilde's 'Kids in America' - and there are loads of cover versions of that song! - but this particular one has never surfaced online as an mp3 or anything. The single was for sale but upon ordering the seller found out he couldn't find the single he was offering. At the time, he was the only one.

Earlier this month, I looked again and there were actually three sellers for this single! I picked one, ordered it, and two weeks later it was in my mailbox. It turns out Radio Wendy was signed to an independent record company in San Diego, California. Not much more information than that, even the year of release can't be traced. It is a nice cover version, but nothing too spectacular I'm afraid. It's been done before.

My collection: 7" single no. 5346
Found: Discogs.com, received August 27, 2013
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Kids in America' / 'Growing old'

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Moments of pleasure - Kate Bush

I would describe my latest vinyl acquisition as a shocker. I never knew that 'Moments of pleasure' by Kate Bush, released in 1993 as the second single off her album 'The red shoes' was released on a 7" single. But it was, albeit only on this jukebox version and never commercially.

Having always thought that only 'Rubberband girl' got a 7" version (and there's a jukebox version of that one too) this is quite a revelation for me. I'm lucky to have found a copy on eBay and win the auction too at such a low price. You'd think that hordes of Kate Bush fans are after this great single, but apparently not...

My collection: 7" single no. 5345
Found: eBay.co.uk, received July 9, 2013
Cost: 1 pound
Tracks: 'Moments of pleasure' / 'Moments of pleasure (instrumental)'

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Running up that hill - Sweep featuring Linda Carriere

Not content with just one disc, Sweep and Linda Carriere released several 12" singles of their cover of 'Running up that hill'. This second 12" features just two remixes of the track, featuring a sort of budget Shaggy clone (as if Shaggy himself isn't cheap enough already).

Repetitive and a bit of an insult to the original track, it's no wonder Sweep disappeared from the music scene directly after this one release.

My collection: 12" single no. 645
Found: unknown, 199X
Cost: unknown
Tracks: "Running up that hill (Running status mix)' / 'Running up that hill (Killer Bee mix)'

Running up that hill - Sweep featuring Linda Carriere

Most people who are fan of a certain artist don't have much interest for cover versions of their favourite artist. I tend to act differently: for most of the acts that I have more than a passing interest in, I like to collect as much cover versions as I can. It does mean that you need a lot of perseverance and in some cases lots of endurance too. Some cover versions are dreadful, others can turn out to be quite nice.

Unfortunately, Sweep's 1993 version of Kate Bush's 'Running up that hill' does not fall into the latter category. It's a rather unimaginative take on what was a very innovative pop song back in 1985. The vocals by Linda Carriere are sometimes ridiculous, but she does manage to hold a few notes. Which I guess is a positive point.

My collection: 12" single no. 644
Found: unknown, 199X
Cost: unknown
Tracks: 'Running up that hill (Jam's Labyrinth mix)', 'Running up that hill (1993 mix)' / 'Running up that hill (laser mix)', 'Running up that hill (radio edit)'

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