Various: Richard Blade’s Flashback Favorites – Vol 6 US CD 
- The Suburbs: Music For Boys (Remix)
- 3D: X Ray Eyes
- Mi Sex: Computer Games (Extended Mix)
- Nina Hagen: Universal Radio (Universal Dance Mix)
- Bollock Brothers: Harley David
- The Chameleons: In Shreds
- The Romeos: Seriously Affected (Rock And Roll And Love And Death)
- Nick Lowe: Cruel To Be Kind
- Payolas: Eyes Of A Stranger
- The Stranglers: All Roads Lead To Rome
- I Am Siam: Talk To Me (I Can Hear You Now) (Extended Dance Mix)
- Shriekback: Nemesis (Extended Mix)
Since we were mentioning Richard Blade, it seemed a natural to discuss this, the final volume of his generally strong “Flashback Favorites” series from Oglio Records way back in the 20th Century. In 1993-1994, Old Wave compilations were just about ready to go over the top and the days of just a dozen or so titles were ending very soon. I bought Volume 4 of this series in 1994, the year of its release. The 12″ mix of a surprisingly obscure Tears For Fears single tipped my hand. I was at the Oglio site several years back buying CD copies of Peter Godwin/Metro’s “Future Imperfect” CD [among other things] when I saw this one sitting there and just had to have it.
Why did I jump at the “buy” button? Primarily because it had “Computer Games” by Mi-Sex! I had loved this tune since 1980, when I heard it on release and had the album of the same name from some point in the late 80s. That single track was a sufficient win for me, but the great thing about this CD was that the rest of it was hardly chopped liver! Case in point, the New Wave power pop of 3D. I remember perhaps seeing a video of the single “X-Ray Eyes” and at the time it didn’t do anything for me, but my friend Dave was smitten enough to buy a copy. He later complained that the song was the best thing on the album [see kids, record companied pulled this stunt even 36 years ago]. Hearing it today it’s a sonic time capsule of 1980 power pop tropes and a pretty good tune. In the actual heady rush of 1980, it failed to compete with the likes of OMD or Gary Numan but today, you wouldn’t change the channel.
I had been buying the CDs of The Suburbs around the same time as this compilation and I appreciated having the 12″ remix of “Music For Boys” [not the Pet Shop Boys song!] on the Record Cell racks too. Better still was the inclusion of the 12″ remix of “Universal Radio” by Nina Hagen. I’ve gone on record as to how I find the German language version of this song [that I have the German CD of] lacking, and it’s gratifying in the extreme to have this even better, 12″ version in the more expressive English vocal version. Sidebar: the version on this CD is actually the exclusive version that La Hagen cut especially for Blade’s station, KROQ-FM, that contains a brief station name call out.
I have at one time or another, owned all of the albums by The Chameleons, on CD or LP. I currently have “What Does Anything Mean? Basically” so getting “In Shreds” doesn’t have quite the cachet it had six years ago when I bought this CD. It’s still a great New Wave rock tune, with a powerful performance from the band. That LP tracks would figure in the song selection here shows the taste of the compiler. There were soon dozens of Old Wave comps that kept trading in the same 100 songs; all singles and all overplayed. Not a problem here.
The one less than thrilling track here was The Bollock Brothers sneering version of Serge Gainsbourg’s “Harley David.” It’s pretty crass and definitely a low point from my clubbing days in the late 80s. The track’s saving grace is that Jock McDonald’s dissipated delivery sounds for all the world like multi-talented albino performer Jackie Rogers, Jr. so to that end I often smile enigmatically upon hearing it.
One track here I had never heard was The Romeo’s “Seriously Affected.” Imagine aliens only ever hearing a transmission of The Rolling Stones “Shattered” and then trying to write a song on their own afterward. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever heard to the actual Stones, but first a caveat: I have not yet heard DFX2. Of course, every home should have at least one copy of “Cruel To Be Kind” and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you who sang that one! Was there ever a hit that stayed as perennially fresh as that one?
The one song I’d ever heard from Canada’s The Payola$ is present and accounted for. “The Mick Ronson production of “Eyes Of A Stranger” was a muscular tune with heavy drums overlaid on a CR78 rhythm with a very contemporary coloration of open chord guitar that had Andy Summer’s name written all over it. It’s hard to believe that none of their LPs ever made it to full CD status as they are served only by a compilation.
While I have all of the Stranglers albums I need, it was intriguing hearing “All Roads Lead To Rome” plucked from outside of its context in “Feline” and inserted here to stand on its own. It’s a revelation. For a deep cut, it’s a single waiting to happen! The motorik thyrhms of Jet Black on the Simmons and the synths of Dave Greenfield mark this one as a contemporary of Ultravox, only with better lyrics! I wonder it was tipped at one point for a single, since there is a promo video for it on “The Meninblack In Color 1983 – 1990” Japanese laserdisc that I have.
The CD wraps up with two more cuts. First, a 12″ version of a single from I Am Siam, the faceless technorock back with a single LP under their belts, enlivened by Larry Fast programming. Not stellar, but just obscure enough to give a listen to without wincing. The last track on the CD was the 12″ mix of “Nemesis” by Shriekback. I had the “Arch Deviant Mix” of the song on Shriekback’s “The Dancing Years” CD from 1989 and I had the extended mix on the original 2×12″ released in 1985, but it’s a delight having that stripped down Extended remix [complete with Colonel Kurtz samples] now on CD. Especially since it only ever made the CD format elsewhere in 2011 when the DLX RM of “Oil + Gold” happened. I don’t have that one yet. I saw it in Amoeba but passed on it since just the promo only “Dance Mix” of “Fish Below The Ice” was a pull for me.
The Flashback Favorites series was was way above average, especially that early in the Old Wave compilation trend. Blade’s taste and excellent liner notes made these a pleasure to hear. I could probably own another volume or two. Volume two looks pretty fine with The Kings “This Beat Goes On/Switching To Glide” rubbing shoulders with Leisure Process’ “Cashflow,” Romeo Void’s “Never Say Never,” and Grandmaster Flash + Melle Mel’s “White Lines [Don’t Do It].” All in 12″ versions.
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