1. Tears are Not Enough (Extended Version) - ABC
2. White Boy - Culture Club
3. Some Distant Memory - Electronic
4. Desire - T42
5. Adonde (Razormaid! Mix) - Cetu Javu
6. Drama (Act 2) - Erasure
7. Gas Stop (High Octane Mix) - Boxcar
8. People are People (Different Mix) - Depeche Mode
9. A Letter From Afar (Big Mix) - B-Movie
10. Lose Him (Original 12" Version) - I Start Counting
11. Play to Win (Disco Mix) - Heaven 17
12. Lifestyle - Elektric Music
13. Round & Round (Merry Go Mix) - New Order
14. Your Love Takes Me Higher (The Pod Went Pop Mix) - The Beloved
15. Falling Rain - Celebrate the Nun
Notes and other random things:
You might be wondering what's up with the cake pic. Well, considering it says Happy Birthday it should be pretty obvious: it's almost Memorial Day here in the U.S. That has nothing to do with the cake, but I just thought I'd point that out. Really, it occurred to me this week that at the time of my last podcast it was almost exactly one year ago that I began CRC.
One year ... hard to believe that much time has elapsed. It seems like just yesterday that today was called tomorrow. You know what they say about time ... that's it's lost a pretty big market share to Newsweek over the past decade. Really though, it apparently sprouts wings and floats about when you're having fun. And doing this show has been a blast thus far. Sure, it took awhile to get the recording process down. And it takes effort to try to come up with totally fresh episodes each week. And sometimes my joints ache when the weather is bad. That last one has nothing to do with the podcast, but it shows you my dedication and the lengths I'll go to get some great music to you, my listeners.
And speaking of listeners, had anyone told me when I started this thing that a guy with a cheap mixer, sizeable retro music collection, faulty joints, inability to do short write-ups and a dream could record a retro mix 'cast from his media room in Charlotte, NC and be listened to in 71 countries around the globe, I would have told them I'm hungry. But after I got some food, I would have said that he or she was crazy.
I want to personally thank each and every one of you for sticking with me this far, but that would take an awfully long time, so I'll just have to do it in this mass message. I hope you'll continue to come along for the ride for as long as I'm willing and able to do this podcast. How long will that be? Well, I admit I can't see into the future ... at least not very far. I do know I will be having a bowl of Lucky Charms at some point in the next half-hour, but other than that, my powers of saying sooth are not all that good. But, with a little luck, some effort on my part to shirk my other responsibilities, and a good comb I hope I'll be celebrating a second anniversary with you all around this time next year.
I think I'm going to skip the band write-ups for this week, though I may cover one or two of these bands over the weekend, since they are making their first appearances on CRC. I just had so much else to write and the pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, green clovers and blue diamonds are calling my name. Oh, and I'm about to go get a bowl of Lucky Charms too.
Cheers to all of you and thank you so much for listening! You all are the best!
I mentioned that I would probably write a bit about some of the bands in this episode because they made their first appearances in CRC. Well, here it is!
I'll start with Culture Club. Now, you'd have to be very, very young or living in a very remote cave not to know or have heard about Boy George. Granted, those of you who are very young may only remember images of George O'Dowd in an orange jumpsuit sweeping up rubbish on the streets of New York as part of a community service arrangement in regard to drug charges and a false burglary charge. Many of you will remember the crazy outfits and androgynous appearance of the flamboyant lead singer during the group's heyday. What you may not know, aside from the handful of singles and MTV success in the mid-80s, is that the band were really a talented collective of musicians and had a lot of soul about them. The track here, White Boy, is evidence of that. The song was the first single released by the band, though it was a commercial disappointment despite heavy radio play. That fact doesn't make it any less amazing or addictive. As the story goes, Jon Moss, the drummer of the band, paid a visit to producer Steve Levine and John Howard in 1982 with a demo tape of three songs, including White Boy. Howard immediately pinpointed the track as the standout of the bunch and it was released three months later. If you've ever heard any of CC's early work, you would agree that the track has something about it ... a groove, a lyrical smoothness, a catchy chant-type chorus ala Nitzer Ebb's Join in the Chant - something that sets it apart. So, it was a bit of a shock that the track didn't do better upon its release. A second single, I'm Afraid of Me, was received even more poorly than the first. However, it was the appearance of graffiti on walls around London, stuff like "Culture Club Rule OK" that convinced Howard there was something abuzz about the band. Howard had seen the same thing a year or two earlier with Adam Ant on the heels of a few of their disappointing first singles. The CC camp felt that they just needed to release the "right track" and the dominoes would all fall into place. Interestingly enough, that track would end up being Do You Really Want to Hurt Me, interesting because it was originally added to the their first album Kissing to be Clever as filler material. Crazy how things work sometimes.
T42 have appeared on CRC once before, the Thanksgiving episode to be precise, but I have to give a shout out to these guys from Texas as they were one of many Dallas/Ft. Worth bands on the rise during my college days. Jay Gillian and Will Loconto were the prime movers of this duo and they released a handful of catchy, electronic jingles that can still motivate dance floors today. The song here, Desire, was produced by Paul Robb from Information Society and became their biggest hit. I vaguely recall going to a record release party for the song. Seems like they played the track just about every hour or half hour in support and while that would seem like overkill, it's just not a song of which you can tire easily. It's one beautiful pop gem.
I want to mention Cetu Javu briefly. If you recall, they are the German band of Spanish heritage who sang the bulk of their tracks in English. They also have appeared on CRC several times in the past, but the track here, Adonde, is an example of their Spanish-influenced electronic pop. The orignal version of the song appeared on the fantastic album Southern Lands. While you can still find the first issue of the album floating around, it was reissued a few years back. If you're a fan of electronic pop music, Southern Lands is a must-have. It's solid from start to finish and includes perhaps their two biggest hits, Situation, which appeared on CRC #1 and Have in Mind, which appeared on CRC #7.
Finally, I want to mention Elektric Music. If the studio wizardry and bizarre sampling seems remotely familiar then you are probably a Kraftwerk fan. Elektric Music is a not-so-side project of Karl Bartos, the percussionist portion of the classic four-man Kraftwerk lineup. The band was founded in 1992 when Bartos became a little frustrated at the tortoise-like pace Ralf Hutter and Florian Schneider, both founding members of Kraftwerk, had adopted in the studio. Their perfectionist tendencies spurred Bartos to branch out and do his own thing. The track here, Lifestyle, is the fourth track on EM's debut album, Esperanto. My favorite track, TV, which leads off the album is a song I'm dying to include in one of these episodes, but the BPMs are so low that it is going to be a bit of a challenge. Perhaps I'll figure out how to include it in one of my Mixtape episodes. Anyway, Bartos has worked closely with Bernard Sumner (vocalist from New Order) and Johnny Marr (former guitarist for The Smiths and The The), penning songs for the duo's Electronic project and their second full-length album, Raise the Pressure, which was released in 1996. Bartos has also worked with OMD's Andy McCluskey. Their collaborative efforts can be found on the OMD album Universal and on the songs Show Business and Kissing the Machine, both from Elektric Music's Esperanto album. For tech junkies, you might be interested to know that Karl Bartos released an iPhone app called Mini-Composer in March of this year. It's a rudimentary 16-steps sequencer with 4 basic waves synthesizer. It was designed with the help of Japanese artist Masayuki Akamatsu and executive producer Jean-Marc Lederman.
Again, thanks to everyone for listening. I'll be back with another episode really soon. Hang tight!