1. The Echoing Green - Cause & Effect
2. Hanging on a Heart Attack - Device
3. Big in Japan (Remix '88) - Alphaville
4. American Science (Chemical Reaction Mix) - Duran Duran
5. Sweet Harmony - Beloved
6. Alive and Kicking - Simple Minds
7. Sinful (Tribal Mix) - Pete Wylie
8. Iko Iko - The Belle Stars
9. Shout (Dub Mix) - Tears For Fears
10. Dimension X - Seven Red Seven
11. Exposure - Channel 69
12. Romy Haag - Data
13. Senseless (Avalon Mix) - Erasure
14. The Good Samaritan - Counterfeit
15. Lady Shave - Fad Gadget
Notes and other random things: This past week in Charlotte was strange. We had our second snowfall of the year, one that managed to accumulate unlike most of the time when we may get a dusting of flakes. (Why does that sound like a bad Head & Shoulders shampoo script?) Sleet followed, snarling traffic and shutting down businesses for two and, in some cases, three days because we on the eastern seaboard are not equipped with a large fleet of snow removal vehicles. This second snowfall, too, was on the heels of a last minute White Christmas we had just weeks prior. It's a rare thing in these parts, but something that really made it feel like the season for a change. A balmy 48 degrees just never seems like opening present weather, you know?
Shoveling driveways for the first time in eternity and cabin fever aside, there is nothing quite like venturing out of your house the morning after a heavy snowfall. There is no sound whatsoever: no traffic, no rustling of leaves, no birds, no planes, and no Supermen either. Planting fresh footsteps into the drifts of white powder is about the closest thing to a moon landing most of us will ever know. All of it conspired to create a strange mood, which carried over into this mix. There's a remix of American Science from Duran Duran's Strange Behavior compilation. There's Seven Red Seven's Dimension X, which contains curiously strange samples from the intro of the old 60s television show The Outer Limits. There's Data's Romy Haag, an ode to the strange, and perhaps best-known German transsexual to hit the entertainment circuit. And then there is the strange Frank Tovey, also known as Fad Gadget, contributing some of his idiosyncracy and a bit of shaving cream imagery to 1981's Lady Shave. Apologies to Steve Strange and his bandmates from Visage, who didn't quite make the cut for this particular episode.
Some other strange tidbits you might like to know:
Paul Engmann from Device later joined the band Animotion, who had the huge hit with the song Obsession. That track was written by prolific songwriter Holly Knight, a member of Device and the one responsible for the penning of Hanging on a Heart Attack, which you will hear in this episode. Knight has a ton of writing credits to her name, including 80s staples Love is a Battlefield, by Pat Benatar; Pleasure and Pain, by Divinyls; Love Touch, by Rod Stewart; and The Warrior by Scandal and Patty Smyth.
Echoing Green is one of my favorite tracks from Cause & Effect's 1990 self-titled first album. It was reissued in 1991 as Another Minute, which spawned the hits Another Minute and You Think You Know Her. Though founding member Sean Rowley, who produced the self-titled release on Exile Records, died from an asthma attack while on tour in support of Information Society in 1992, the band continued on and is still releasing great music.
If you haven't seen the video for Sweet Harmony, it's one of the great videos from the early 90s. Beloved lead singer Jon Marsh has continued to carve out a music career, contributing his vocal smoothness to tracks like Bent's Beautiful Otherness, and performing both as a solo artist and DJ.
The 1986 release of Sinful by Pete Wylie reached #13 in the UK. Wylie's band Wah! was one of the darlings of the music press, namely NME and Melody Maker, in the early 80s. In 1977, Wylie, Ian McCullough of Echo and the Bunnymen, and Julian Cope were members of the band Crucial Three, which lasted barely a month. Too many egos in a small room for that to ever survive, but to be a fly on the wall in those few weeks...wow. I'd love to hear something, anything, from that collaboration, though I don't think anything exists.
Iko Iko by the Belle Stars is a cover tune originally done by the Dixie Cups in 1965, though it was titled Jock-a-mo at the time. The song is an old New Orleans tune with West African roots, the term ayeko ayeko being a term meaning well done. The Belle Stars' version of the song appeared on the 1988 soundtrack for the film Rain Man.
In a previous podcast, I mentioned my Texas connection and talked briefly about some of the bands that made up the local and regional music scene back then. T42 (see episode #21) were one of those groups, but I mentioned Channel 69 and hinted that they would appear on CRC at some point. Well, here they are. While a different version of Exposure appeared on a full-length album, I prefer this version of the song, which is taken from their Serious Rhythm e.p., released in 1993. At the time, the band featured vocals by John Allen Moore and keyboard work by Christian Yadon and Kyle Schember. They were one of the really cool electronic bands performing in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area back in those days and I have only fond memories of my time there.
While you may know Erasure's track Senseless, which originally appeared on their debut album Wonderland, you probably have not heard this modern reworking taken from their 2009, six-song release called Club. It's much moodier than its predecessor, but it has a nice sound. Contained within, you may hear some breathy elements that resemble those heard in Depeche Mode's track Halo from the Violator album. Halo, you may recall, appeared in CRC (episode #10) back in July.
Finally, there is an excellent track called The Good Samaritan by a band called Counterfeit. This is a new discovery on my part as I found this track on a 1993 compilation I recently bought, but I fell madly in love with it from the first time I heard it. It sounds like it could fit easily somewhere on Camouflage's Voices and Images album. This is the only song that exists from the band, though its primary writer, Lee McFadden, has gone on to do other music-related projects. The track was released on Creation records, a label headed by Alan McGee, who took the name from the 60s band The Creation, and who headed an 80s band called Biff Bang Pow! Not surprisingly, Biff Bang Pow! was also the name of a song by The Creation.
That's all for this episode. The photo by the way, is of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights, visible during the winter months in the northern latitudes. It seemed appropriate because of the extreme cold we've had lately in the Carolinas. Credit goes to Peter Lytwyniuk for the excellent shot.
Until next time, happy listening!