Friday 19 April 2024

Heart begin to beat - Savage progress

The racial mix within Savage Progress was never fully stressed in the media, but had a definite effect on their music: Glynnis Thomas was born in Zimbabwe to mixed race/African parents, Rik Kenton came from Nottingham, Carol Isaacs was English-Jewish, Ned Morant had Indian parentage, and Andrew Edge was from Leeds, in northern England. 

This mix of differing cultures proved to be advantageous for Savage Progress' music, as Kenton infused their songs with as many cultural influences as possible. 'Heart begin to beat' is an example of their work, sounding slightly weird and certainly not your standard chart fodder. Although the music video was shown regularly on channels like Sky and Music Box in 1984, the single did not chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 7138
Found: Record fair, Den Bosch, 13 April 2024
Tracks: 'Heart begin to beat' / 'Dark town'

Lead me to the water - Gary Brooker

'Lead me to the water' was Gary Brooker's second solo album, released in 1982. The title track was released as a single, but like most of his solo singles, it didn't chart. What's interesting about the sleeve of this single, is that it's very similar to the one of 'The Angler'. 

While Gary Brooker wasn't that successful as a solo artist, he was a much sought after musician, appearing on albums by Alan Parsons Project and Kate Bush. He remains best known, of course, for founding Procol Harum, the band which he reformed in 1991 and toured with during the three decades that followed until his untimely death on 19 February 2022.

My collection: 7" single no. 7137
Found: Record fair, Den Bosch, 13 April 2024
Tracks: 'Lead me to the water' / 'Badlands'

Walk like an Egyptian - Bangles

Although I already own a copy of 'Walk like an Egyptian' on 7", that one is a re-release and this is the original one. In fact this version was also included in the double pack of 'Walking down your street', complete with the B-side 'Not like you', but who could resist a poster sleeve? I never could.

'Walk like an Egyptian' was actually the third single release from the Bangles' album 'Different light'. It became a number one hit in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain and the United States. In the UK, where this poster sleeve was released, the single only reached number 3, amazingly enough. 

My collection: 7" single no. 7136
Found: Record fair, Den Bosch, 13 April 2024
Tracks: 'Walk like an Egyptian' / 'Not like you'

White winter hymnal - Fleet foxes

'White winter hymnal' is the first single from Fleet Foxes' debut 2008 self-titled album. Released by European label Bella Union in July 2008, the single was issued on 7" vinyl as well as digital MP3 format. The B-side is the non-album track 'Isles'. 

Former Cocteau Twins bassist Simon Raymonde, the head of record label Bella Union, was considering shutting his label down due to financial troubles, but after hearing a demo version of 'White winter hymnal', he was motivated to continue going on and signed Fleet Foxes to the label based on how much he liked the song. The single ended up selling more than 200,000 units and was certified silver. The song was covered by Kim Wilde, together with her dad Marty and her brother Ricky, on her album 'Wilde winter songbook', which is how I got to know this track. 

My collection: 7" single no. 7135
Found: Record fair, Den Bosch, 13 April 2024
Tracks: 'White winter hymnal' / 'Isles'

Ah! Quelle histoire (Congratulations) - Cliff Richard

Cliff Richard participated in the Eurovision Song Contest twice, but the amount of singles that spawned is quite amazing. Thanks, of course, to the fact that he recorded his Eurovision songs in numerous languages. I already had 'Congratulations' on 7", as well as 'Man gratuliert mir', the German version of that song, and of course 'Congratulations' in Spanish.

And then... here's 'Ah! Quelle histoire', the French version of 'Congratulations'. The only version I don't have yet is the Italian one. Something tells me it will be just a matter of time...

My collection: 7" single no. 7134
Found: Record fair, Den Bosch, 13 April 2024
Tracks: 'Ah! Quelle histoire' / 'Girl you'll be a woman soon'

A cidade (até ser dia) - Anabela

During the Eurovision Song Contest in 1993 Portugal was represented by Anabela with the song 'A cidade (até ser dia)', written by Pedro Abrantes, former Eurovision entrant Paulo de Carvalho, and Marco Quelhas. The song was arranged by the song writer's brother Fernando Abrantes, who also performed it at the piano live on stage together with the singer Anabela during the Eurovision final in Ireland. The song ended up in tenth place.

Since 1993 the single has become quite rare. When you search for it online you can get a decent copy for more than 25 euros, which in my book is much too high a price. And so I have to say that going to record fairs really is a good thing if you know where to look. In this case, I ended up with a seller who had some Eurovision singles - not too much - and in between the expected titles by Bucks Fizz, Johnny Logan, Celine Dion and others, there it was: a good copy of 'A cidade (até ser dia)'. I've searched for this one for quite a long time, and finding it during the first hour of my visit to the record fair in Den Bosch was a really good start of the day.

My collection: 7" single no. 7133
Found: Record fair, Den Bosch, 13 April 2024
Tracks: 'A cidade (até ser dia)' / 'Nightfall in the city'

Always on my mind - Pet Shop Boys

Back in August 1987, a TV special was broadcast on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. Various artists, including Kim Wilde, Boy George and others, performed Elvis songs with some of Elvis' original musicians. One of the artists performing were the Pet Shop Boys, who did a version of 'Always on my mind'. Their performance was released on this special Japanese 7" single, free with copies of the album 'Actually' in that country. 

Of course, the Pet Shop Boys recorded the track and had a number one hit single with it at the end of the year, but this single features the original version as performed on that TV special, which makes this quite a rare single. I found a copy without the accompanying LP - which is fine, because I don't really 'do' LP's anymore. So guess what? I'm quite pleased with this find.

My collection: 7" single no. 7132
Found: Record fair, Den Bosch, 13 April 2024
Tracks: 'Always on my mind' / 'Heart (dub)'

Friday 12 April 2024

Piove - Domenico Modugno

I already bought a clear vinyl copy of Domenico Modugno's 'Piove' five years ago, but I was pretty surprised to find another version recently online. It was also pressed on clear vinyl, but this time the disc featured four tracks and a picture sleeve. It looks like this EP was produced in 1959, the year of Modugno's participation in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song.

The three tracks accompanying 'Piove' on this EP are a nice representation of Italian music at the end of the 1950's. It's oldfashioned but still quite attractive. Especially 'Farfalle' is a catchy tune.

My collection: 7" single no. 7130
Found: Discogs.com, received 28 March 2024
Tracks: 'Piove', 'Farfalle' / 'Io', 'Come prima'

Tuesday 2 April 2024

The girls are back in town - Risqué

Probably for the last time I can please this blog's reader and avid Risqué-fan Jos with a record by the Dutch girl group Risqué. This record represents the last one that I still needed to complete the collection - and it is actually their debut single, in 12" format.

'The girls are back in town' was remixed to make it a six minute epic - and what's nice about this 12" single is that the B-side was also remixed and extended. This one was pressed in Canada, as I was ordering some records from over there anyway. No picture sleeve, alas, but the music remains the same as on other pressings.

My collection: 12" single [unnumbered]
Found: Discogs.com, received 9 March 2024
Tracks: 'The girls are back in town [extended]' / 'Risqué Disco [extended]'

Volare - Explosivo

When you buy a record from the other end of the world - in this case, Canada - it would be stupid not to buy more than one record. And so I went searching for a little bit more. Being still in a Eurovision mood, it was a no-brainer to get this 12" single: a version of the legendary 'Volare', but in a dsico guise.

Explosivo was a short-lived outfit, having released just this one 7" and 12" single back in 1981. I found out later that the 7" single contains exactly the same tracks, but the A-side, 'Volare', is edited on the 7" single. So it's good to get this full length version, going on for over five minutes. For some reason, the verses are omitted in this cover version, so you get a few repetitions of the chorus - with a disco beat, of course.

My collection: 12" single [unnumbered]
Found: Discogs.com, received 9 March 2024
Tracks: 'Volare' / 'Latin express'

Saturday 30 March 2024

Michael Caine - Madness

Such is the shake-up of my record collection that all of the Madness singles except 'Driving in my car' have been binned. Most of them looked pretty tattered anyway and I have a cd with all of those hits which makes the singles somehow superfluous.

Of course, there are exceptions. Poster sleeves and picture discs are always interesting, and so I am introducing this double single featuring 'Michael Caine' and a picture disc of 'The sun and the rain' almost at the same time. The song is about an informant during the Troubles, and the lyrics suggest a state of paranoia and mental disintegration. It is named after English actor Michael Caine and includes his vocal samples, recorded specifically for this song. 

My collection: 7" single no. 7128
Found: Discogs.com, received 21 March 2024
Tracks: 'Michael Caine' / 'If you think there's something' // 'The sun and the rain' / 'Fireball XL5'

I'm a wonderful thing (baby) - Kid Creole & the Coconuts

'I'm a wonderful thing baby' appears on the B-side of this single of 'Stool pigeon', but it was also released as a single in its own right. And, to make matters even more interesting, it was pressed on red vinyl in the Netherlands. It was the first single released from the album Tropical Gangsters and their first major hit reaching a peak of number 4 in the UK Singles Chart. In the Netherlands it got to number 21 in the Dutch Top 40.

In 1993, the single was remixed by Brothers in Rhythm and released as a single to promote the compilation album Cre~Olé: The Best of Kid Creole & the Coconuts.

My collection: 7" single no. 7127
Found: Discogs.com, received 21 March 2024
Tracks: 'I'm a wonderful thing (baby)' / 'Table manners'

 

 


Hey you - Chris Rea

One of Chris Rea's lesser known singles is 'Hey you', taken from his fifth studio album Water sign, which yielded the hit single 'I can hear your heart beat'.

According to the sleeve notes in the 2019 deluxe version of Shamrock Diaries, the record company would not fund Water Sign, "forcing [Rea] to use tracks that had been intended as demos". As a result, Rea plays most instruments on the album, and – unusually – drum machines feature. In an interview, Chris Rea said: "I turned in the Water Sign tapes as demos. And they said, that's it, put them out. And it looked like once they'd released that album they were gonna drop us." At that time he was ready to throw in the towel, quit the music business and open an Italian restaurant. "Then a guy from Ireland phoned Magnet Records and said, 'I really like Water Sign. Will Chris come over and do a concert?' Then it all started to come good in Ireland. I went over there, it was like Beatlemania! So I stayed there a while, did a large tour." 

My collection: 7" single no. 7126
Found: Discogs.com, received 21 March 2024
Tracks: 'Hey you' / 'Love to love'

Love is life - Hot Chocolate

It's always great to find a Hot Chocolate single. They released a lot of them in the Seventies, driven by music mogul Mickie Most and his RAK Records label, which demanded hit records from all the artists they signed. 

'Love is life' was the band's first chart success back in 1970. It peaked at number 6 in the UK singles chart during a chart run of 12 weeks. After this, they had two hits every year on average, right until 1983! In the Netherlands their success was more limited; 'Love is life' didn't chart and they only had 13 hits in the same period.

My collection: 7" single no. 7125
Found: Discogs.com, received 20 March 2024
Tracks: 'Love is life' / 'Pretty girls'

Baby come back - Eddy Grant

As I was going through my singles collection it dawned on me that I had a few Eddy Grant singles in red vinyl. I was intrigued and I started looking for more red vinyl singles by Eddy Grant. And so I came across this one: 'Baby come back'. 

It was originally a hit for the Equals, taken from their 1967 album Unequalled Equals. It was a number one hit in the UK, Belgium, South Africa and Rhodesia. The song was actually written by Eddy Grant; he was a member of the Equals. In 1984, after his solo career had taken off in a big way, he decided to re-record the song, but this version was less successful. But still, it was released on red vinyl in Germany.

My collection: 7" single no. 7124
Found: Discogs.com, received 20 March 2024
Tracks: 'Baby come back' / 'Political bassa bassa'


Tuesday 19 March 2024

A word about numbers

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have always numbered the 7" singles featured on this blog. (12" singles are always unnumbered, because I never kept a record of them myself.) Recently I have updated my own log of 7" singles, because over the years I have sold some singles and I also bought certain single which I never logged. This discrepancy started to bother me more over the past few years, especially when I sold about 200 singles early last year. 

I used some spare time this month to get the log up to date. This means: clearing out all the singles I don't own anymore (although virtually I do, because they were featured on this blog!) and describing all the singles that I never logged before (this includes certain special editions, picture discs etc. because I already owned the 'normal' versions of those singles). It turns out that the discrepancy isn't that big after all: until 9 March my log showed that I owned 7155 singles, and today, after all these actions, I own 7119 pieces. 

You will notice, of course, that the next single on this blog will state the number 7120 (or higher), although that number already featured on this blog before. Now you know why...

Wednesday 13 March 2024

Eurovision - Telex

I have a big subcollection of Eurovision singles and within that subcollection there's another subcollection: 12" singles of Eurovision songs. You'd be surprised how many 12" singles of Eurovision songs actually exist, and many have already featured on this blog anyway. But one eluded me, and I consider it the ultimate Eurovision 12" single: it's 'Eurovision' by Telex.

It's quite a rare one, because it was only released in the USA as a promotional disc. But it contains an extended version of that song, and as far as I know this version has never been released anywhere else. I've had to search for this one for quite a long time, and I am really glad to finally have it. Even if I had to have it sent over from Canada!

My collection: 12" single [unnumbered]
Found: Discogs.com, received 9 March 2024
Tracks: 'Eurovision [extended]' / 'Dance to the music', 'Twist a Saint-Tropez'

Sunday 10 March 2024

Coming up (live at Glasgow) - Paul McCartney

In 1980 Paul McCartney released 'McCartney II', a solo album created almost entirely on his own, aided only by his wife Linda. When the album was released in the USA, it came with a free 7" single featuring one track: a live version of 'Coming up'. This live version also appeared on the 7" single of 'Coming up', actually. 

I only bought this single because it came with an order of a few 12" singles, and it is a nice curiosity. It's not often one gets to buy a McCartney promo for the price of half a bread.

My collection: 7" single no. 7155
Found: Discogs.com, received 9 March 2024
Tracks: 'Coming up (live at Glasgow)'

Open up the red box - Simply Red

I'm not entirely sure if I would have bought this single if it wasn't a double single. I am just a sucker for special editions. 'Open up the red box' was Simply Red's fifth and final single release from their debut album 'Picture book'. This double single features previous single 'Holding back the years' as a bonus. Smart move, as that one had just reached number 2 in the UK singles chart. On the other hand, most people probably already owned that single - and so 'Open up the red box' stalled at number 61 in that same chart. 

No need to panic: Simply Red continued their success with subsequent albums, with hits right into the new century.

My collection: 7" single no. 7150
Found: Record fair, Rijswijk, 3 March 2024
Tracks: 'Open up the red box' / 'Look at you now' // 'Holding back the years' / 'Drowning in my own tears'

Amiga Quartett - Bangles

The GDR record company Amiga released so-called 'Amiga Quartett' EP's, featuring several tracks from a certain act. In this case, an EP from 1989 mopped up a few single and album tracks from the American band The Bangles. They were enjoying great success with 'Eternal flame' in 1989, something that didn't escape the attention of the Eastern German record company bosses. Their music was deemed suitable for the youth behind the iron curtain. The B-side of this EP features two tracks from the album 'Everything'. 

After Germany's reunification Amiga ceased to exist. In fact, it looks like this was the last interesting - to me at least - EP's from the label. Nine more followed, from artists like Monika Herz, Jürgen Hart, Neneh Cherry and Udo Jürgens. Amiga was sold to BMG National Berlin in 1994. 

My collection: 7" single no. 7153
Found: Record fair, Rijswijk, 3 March 2024
Tracks: 'Eternal flame', 'In your room' / 'Something to believe in', 'Some dreams come true'

Hot hot hot !!! - Cure

'Hot hot hot!!!' was the fourth single released from the album 'Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me'. In early 1988, it spent three weeks in the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number 45 on 20 February of that year. In the United States, the song reached number 65 on the Billboard Hot 100. It reached its highest chart position in Spain, peaking at number 8. 

For this single release, both tracks were remixed by François Kevorkian. The B-side, 'Hey you!!!' was also a song from the album, but the original CD release of 'Kiss me, kiss me, kiss me' omitted this track as to facilitate a single CD. In 2006 the track did appear on CD1 of a deluxe 2CD edition of the album. 

My collection: 7" single no. 7154
Found: Record fair, Rijswijk, 3 March 2024
Tracks: 'Hot hot hot !!!' / 'Hey you !!!'

West end girls - Pet Shop Boys

Now that the Pet Shop Boys have established themselves as one of the premier acts of UK pop, it's hard to imagine that there was once a time when these two gentlemen still had to fight their way into the recording industry. This single, 'West End Girls', comes right from the beginning of their career in 1984. It's a French release, because apparently there were some companies out there that believed in this Bobby O-produced slice of pop. It is not, of course, the hit version that followed in 1985. 

Orlando played most of the instruments on this version of the track, including the jazz riff at the end. Lowe played one chord and the bassline. It included a drum part lifted from Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean', and an arrangement involving what Tennant called "Barry White chords". Orlando was thrilled by the song's production; his idea was to make a rap record in a British accent. In April 1984, 'West end girls' was released, becoming a club hit in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and a minor dance hit in Belgium and France. In March 1985, after long negotiations, Pet Shop Boys cut their contractual ties with Orlando, and hired manager Tom Watkins, who signed them with EMI.

My collection: 7" single no. 7151
Found: Record fair, Rijswijk, 3 March 2024
Tracks: 'West end girls' / 'Pet Shop Boys'

Stop the world - Captain Sensible

After considerable success with the single 'Wot!', Captain Sensible's career stalled. The next single 'Croydon' didn't chart anywhere, and the single after that was 'Stop the world'. It only got to number 82 in the UK singles chart, and number 72 in Germany. His only other big hit would happen a year later with 'Glad it's all over'.

The biggest redeeming quality of all these singles was that they were produced by Tony Mansfield, of New Musik fame. You can his recognizable synth sounds on this single. Apparently there's a 12" single version as well - which will probably feature on this blog soon as well.

My collection: 7" single no. 7146
Found: Record fair, Rijswijk, 3 March 2024
Tracks: 'Stop the world' / 'Back to school?'

Cuba - Gibson Brothers

A year before the Gibson Brothers had a hit with 'Que sera mi vida', they had a hit with a similarly Latin America-oriented single called 'Cuba' in 1979. The single peaked at number 32 in the Dutch Top 40, and reached number 41 in the UK singles chart. It fared better in the UK in 1980 when it was re-released: it reached number 12.

They actually had two more hits in the UK: 'Mariana' (1980) and 'My heart's beating wild' (1983). Neither of those charted in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, my musical interests had shifted to other bands as well.

My collection: 7" single no. 7145
Found: Record fair, Rijswijk, 3 March 2024
Tracks: 'Cuba' / 'Cuba (instrumental)'


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