Record Review: Richard Blade’s Flashback Favorites – Vol 6

Oglio Records | US | CD | 1994 | OGL 81569-2

Oglio Records | US | CD | 1994 | OGL 81569-2

Various: Richard Blade’s Flashback Favorites – Vol 6 US CD [2014]

  1. The Suburbs: Music For Boys (Remix)
  2. 3D: X Ray Eyes
  3. Mi Sex: Computer Games (Extended Mix)
  4. Nina Hagen: Universal Radio (Universal Dance Mix)
  5. Bollock Brothers: Harley David
  6. The Chameleons: In Shreds
  7. The Romeos: Seriously Affected (Rock And Roll And Love And Death)
  8. Nick Lowe: Cruel To Be Kind
  9. Payolas: Eyes Of A Stranger
  10. The Stranglers: All Roads Lead To Rome
  11. I Am Siam: Talk To Me (I Can Hear You Now) (Extended Dance Mix)
  12. 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.

3D USLPAWhy 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.

jackierogersjrThe 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.

shriekback - nemesisUK2x12A

Extended Mix

Arch-Deviant Mix

Arch-Deviant Mix

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.

– 30 –

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10 Responses to Record Review: Richard Blade’s Flashback Favorites – Vol 6

  1. Echorich says:

    Ah the wonderful mixed up world of Richard Blade and KROQ…whenever I went out to LA in the early 80’s I felt like it was some sort of New Wave altered state. They seemed to love bands like Toto Cuelo and and Missing Persons at the expense of Blondie or Talking Heads, but they did have a love of Brit bands like Stranglers for sure, as well as Aussie and NZ bands like Icehouse and Split Enz.
    What a great song Computer Games is! The Suburbs got a decent amount of airplay and led the New Wave out of Minneapolis. Music For Boys is my favorite of theirs.
    Oh and by the way that Tears For Fears single you mentioned from vol. 4, The Way You Are, is my absolute favorite of theirs and the one that lost them a good deal of their audience until Shout came out. Even the band kinda shy away from it these days, but I just love it.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Echorich – Yeah, I guess the cheese factor at KROQ could get out of hand if they have Toto Coelo heavy airplay! Your mileage may vary. I remember when “The Way You Are” came out I saw it in the import bins but never heard it! It was like the phantom single. I guess it was their “Dazzle Ships!”

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      • Echorich says:

        If ever there was a bridge single from a band, The Way You Are was it. Filled with the the synth-ethics of The Hurting, but seeming to strive for a stronger, more foreceful sound that would come together on Songs From The Big Chair…the psychoanalysis was certainly still present as well.

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  2. Taffy says:

    that Mi-Sex song was everything to me back then. Those endless stuttering pu-pu-pu-pus and hiccup-y vocal delivery which I could never quite decipher (were computers taking over the world? were computer games making us stupid? it was 1980 – who knew computers would even last!)…it sounded like the future to me. Mi-Sex had some other good tunes, but that was the pinnacle. I didn’t even know there was a 12″ mix till decades later.

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    • postpunkmonk says:

      Taffy – Yeah, this one was an earworm from day one! Actually, there are three edits of this track. The 3:55 LP/Oz 7″ mix. A 4:41 extended version [on this CD] that was also on the US 12″ and 7″ single too! How weird is that? Finally, the song was re-released in 1983 in the UK in what is undoubtedly an early post-modern mix [“Special Dance Mix”] that was 6:17 in length. Now how much would you pay… But wait! There’s more!! In 1989 US Epic released a split 12″ [with The Hollies on the A-side] from their “Mixed Masters” reissue 12″ series that also featured the classic 4:41 mix. All this from a band that took their name from an Ultravox! song. Just for you, here are the lyrics!
      computer games OZ 7

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      • Echorich says:

        Mi-Sex ended up being just a bit to stuck in “prog-pop” for me when I investigated them further…they attempted to dress the part of a New Wave band, but it didn’t mask prog influences.

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  3. James Pagan says:

    I always got a kick out of 3-D. “X-Ray Eyes” is terrific, but their masterpiece is “All Night Television,” which they performed on Saturday Night Live in the Spring of 1980. It sounds like Elvis Costello fronting the Cars, and I can never get enough of it.

    Cordially,

    James Pagan

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      James Pagan – I recall that a friend bought that album but was disappointed with it. I never heard it but what you describe has more than a certain je ne sai quoi to it. When next I see that platter I will have to spring for it and report back my findings.

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  4. Rob C says:

    I have the entire series – they’re all brilliant! The other thing here is that every one of these tracks were playlisted by KROQ at the time – KROQ would routinely play album cuts, b-sides and remixes in their regular rotation until they went to a formatted playlist around 85. A lot of these cuts were only available on CD as part of this series. Coupled with the phenomenal Rhino series, Just Can’t Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the 80s, you would a brilliant mix of popular and obscure new wave classics spanning 78-85.

    They just don’t make compilations like this anymore…

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      Rob C – An important consideration was that this and the Rhino series were among the first domestic New Wave Compilation CDs to hit the US market. They set the high water mark for the genre that would scarcely be bettered elsewhere.

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