The Passions: Africa Mine UK 2×7″ 
- Africa Mine
- I Feel Cheap
DISC 2 – Live At The Venue, London
- The Square
- Why Me?
- I’m In Love With A German Film Star
There was one final year when I listened to the radio in my home*, having given up on commercial radio some time in 1980. And that’s when I realized that the local college radio station WPRK-FM had undergone a huge sea change during the dawn of the 80s. When I first encountered WPRK-FM, a few years earlier, they were still riding the tail end of prog rock, much like myself. Deep ELP album cuts and the like were their stock in trade around 1977. So I never really paid too much attention to them. I can’t remember why, but when I next crossed paths with WPRK-FM in 1981, they were a very modern college radio station, working that New Wave action! After giving up on commercial FM-Rock, it was exciting to hear music I might want to buy on the airwaves; even with a paltry 100 watts to their signal.
One of the records that I heard in 1982 haunted me for years. “Africa Mine” by The Passions, was the only song I ever heard from this group from about 1982 – 1992, but it stuck with me like glue. The lyrics are a scathing riposte of capitalism and imperialism [now more timely than ever] set paradoxically to the most dreamily melodic musical backing imaginable. Clive Timperley’s famously echoplexed guitar contributes pealing riffs that scatter outward like ripples on a pond while the subtle polyrhythms not unlike those found of “My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts” anchor the song, giving vocalist Barbara Gogan a foundation upon which her vocals can soar in the air.
This song obsessed me for years afterward, and bear in mind, that I never heard their monster single hit, “I’m I Love With A German Film Star” until some point in the 90s! That I managed to get through 1981 without hearing that still boggles my mind, but I never heard The Associates back then either! By the early 90s, when I saw this 2×7″ on sale in a catalog I just had to have it, so I ordered! Being that The Monk is somewhat less than rigorous in playing his records, I only recently got around to playing more than the sublime A-side. “I Feel Cheap” is a strong B-side that recalls Romeo Void’s seminal “Never Say Never” in the rhythm department. Ultimately though, The Passions have an airiness to their sound that no matter how driving the rhythms, or desperate the sentiments [in the case of “I Feel Cheap”], they can’t avoid having a lack of gravitas that purely comes down to their sonics.
The live EP is problematic, in terms of sound quality. With 4 songs on a 45 there is substantial groove cramming, and this being a French MPO pressing for Polydor with silver injection labels, that means that the discs sound pretty horrible. This was the nadir of vinyl, as far as I’m concerned. So much so that when I digitized this 2×7″ set for a Premaster disc, I skipped the live tracks because they lacked so much and were shot through with substantial surface noise and pops. A visual inspection would be VG+ but in practical terms the record was Fair, and the low end of that as fas as I’m concerned.
To date there have been only two Passions CDs; a compilation [“Passion Plays”] ca. 1995/2004 and a Cherry Red DLX RM of their “Thirty Thousand Feet Over China” album from whence “Film Star” came, but not this single. Ironically, the live B-side, “The Square” was included on the Cherry Red disc as a bonus track. One hopes sincerely that it was not remastered from vinyl! I have one album [“Michael + Miranda”] and another 12″ single [“Skin Deep”] by The Passions, and without fail, every one of these Polydor pressings sound just as awful as this single. Hopefully, one day “Michael + Miranda” will make it to CD so I can listen to music and not noise. But that album in on Fiction and seems to be MIA due to legal rights to the master recordings.
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* I always listened to WPRK in my car while I lived in Orlando, FL since I did not have a CD player and had eschewed tapes by the mid-90s..