In the mid-80s I was a huge fan of director Jonathan Demme. He came up through the Roger Corman system and I first saw his work with the quirky “CB craze” movie “Handle With Care [a.k.a. “Citizen’s Band”] which my mother forced me to go see with my neighbors in 1977. By the dawn of the 80s he was connected with New Wave music; having directed the video for The Suburban Lawn’s “Gidget Goes To Hell” video. Demme had a real affinity for music outside the margins and his soundtracks [and casts] were peppered with choice cuts and musicians that anyone reading this would love. I saw his 1986 film “Something Wild” at least four times in theaters when it was in release. My friends and I would go back each week for another viewing. I didn’t really need that soundtrack album, but his next movie, was another case entirely.
Various: Married To The Mob – US – CD 
- Sinead O’Connor: Jump In The River
- New Order: Bizarre Love Triangle [Stephen Hague Remix]
- Chris Isaak: Suspicion Of Love
- Debbie Harry: Liar, Liar
- Ziggy Marley + the Melody Makers: Time Bums
- Tom Tom Club: Devil Does Your Dog Bite?
- Q. Lazzarus: Goodbye Horses
- The Voodooist Corporation: Queen Of Voudou
- The Feelies: Too Far Gone
- Brian Eno: You Don’t Miss Your Water
By this time, I was convinced by Sinead O’Connor and was buying her singles on CD after getting “The Lion + The Cobra.” “Jump In the River” was a non-LP single and in America it was attached to this soundtrack. This was an excellent single she had co-written with Marco Pironni that featured a heavy rock throb over a motorik drum machine and rhythm guitar. The 7″ mix here was the one to have. I never appreciated the 12″ with Karen Finley free associating over the mix.
Demme sure loved his New Order, but many directors were in that club along with him. You’ll recall that they were also on Monday’s album in this theme. This was a unique 7″ version of “Bizarre Love Triangle” as mixed by Stephen Hague. It’s a nice mix to have with some nice flourishes that differed from the Pettibone mixes. I like the succinct 3:56 running time and the delicate coda in the fade instead of the cold ending was a good touch.
One of the two main reasons why I bought this CD was down to it having a [rare] Chris Isaak non-LP song in “Suspicion Of Love.” I fell hard for the singer’s songs and style three years earlier and he also acted a small turn as the “FBI Clown” in the film itself. “Suspicion of Love” was sort of a throwback to his debut album sound in that it was still very much enamored of his minor key structures that grabbed me so vividly back at the time of the “Silvertone” album. But it differed in having what sure sounded like a drum machine with shaker chugging in a motorik fashion throughout the song. Of course, his original guitarist James Calvin Wilsey was still in the spotlight at this time. Making this a must-have Isaak rarity at the time and even now.
The lead single from the album was given to Deborah Harry, who was no stranger to pop soundtracks! She covered The Castaways 60s’ hit “Liar, Liar” with the sturdy Mike Chapman producing, though Arthur Baker mixed the raucous pop tune. It’s a solid tune given a brash and horn laden arrangement. I especially loved the blood curdling scream in the middle eight break before the wicked cool backwards guitar solo! I’d love to hear the German-only extended version but that little gem is going for a serious two figures.
Ziggy Marley + The Melody Makers got a non-LP rarity into the playlist with the electro reggae of “Time Bums” as produced by Tina Weymouth + Chris Frantz, who had recently taken the scion of Bob Marley to the top of the charts with “Tomorrow People.” Then we had a rarity from Tom Tom Club also included afterward with “Devil Does Your Dog Bite?” The goofy, hoedown/Zydeco hybrid was one of Chris Frantz’ turns on lead vocals and a fun track we just discussed.
“Goodbye Horses” by Q. Lazzarus has become a highly sought after song following Demme’s decision to use it in his subsequent film as well as “Married To The Mob.” The version of the “Married To The Mob” soundtrack was in fact, the song’s first ever release. Later 12″ singles came on the heels of it’s use in “Silence Of The Lambs” in both 1991 and 2013 and those records now are three huge figures. Edging towards four. You can’t afford them.
It’s a good thing that this CD has the song in an affordable version fit for most budgets! It remains an eerie ballad like few things out there, though the expression vocals always remind me of New Order’s “Temptation.” But the minimal song all but hangs on the frame of the expressive lead vocal that never fails to intrigue.
The big “x-factor” on this soundtracks was The Voodooist Corporation with their techno-trance/dance track “Queen of Voudoo” being a dark blend of machine energy and Haitian Creole vocals. The mysterious band only ever surfaced on a 12″ a few years later, and that one will set you back a hefty two figures.
The only time I ever heard The Feelies in spite of reading lots of rave reviews of their 1980 debut album, was when they appeared here with a track off of their third album, “Only Life.” “Too Far Gone” was an energetic track that started in high gear and only upped the tempo from there. Vocalist Glenn Mercer came on like a speeding Lou Reed on the urgent song and I loved the way the lead guitar would slightly hang back from the frenetic rhythms for maximum impact. Can someone please remind me again why this was the only Feelies song in my Record Cell?
The album concluded with the second reason why this was a must buy in 1988. Brian Eno broke his embargo on singing for the first time in a decade here with his evanescent cover of the William Bell Stax classic “You Don’t Miss Your Water.” Eno managed to give the song [covered by everyone from Otis Redding to Harry Dean Stanton] a featherlight country music feel not a million miles away from the vibe on his “Apollo” album.
This was a tight and enjoyable album from start to finish. I put that down to the taste of Demme being of a very high standard. It’s just hard to imagine Demme overseeing his musical charges making sellout records of the kind that John Hughes was apparently comfortable with. And there is no comparison between the first three films we’ve examined [even obliquely] thus far and “Married To The Mob.” This film represented the climax to what I call the imperial period of Demme’s career. Afterward, “Silence Of The Lambs” booted him out of his ghetto of quirky personal projects and into the Hollywood spotlight for better or worse. Mostly worse. At least this soundtrack stands as a legacy to his early strengths.
Next: …Hughes Music Redux