Record Review: It’s Immaterial Album Shimmers After Almost 30 Years Tucked Away In A Closet [part 3]

whitehead + campbell

L-R: Whitehead + Campbell ©2020 Moira Kenney

[…continued from last post]

We just reviewed an album with a song titled “Tell Me Why” and here’s another one already in our queue. The songs could not be more different. Only the ubiquitous early 90s shuffle beat points back to this song’s origins. The abstract synths gently pulling us into the song were out of the Callum Malcolm playbook and redolent of the sound he brought as producer to The Blue Nile. But the matter-of-fact, conversational tone of John Campbell was always a very different kettle of fish to the more heart wrenching approach of Paul Buchanan. But a listen to the lyrics here showed that though his manner and delivery differed from Buchanan, his words were recounting a time when “you heart stays out all night” and aiming to repair the damage from a straying. The big difference came down to the reserve that Campbell brought to the mic.

“Up On The Roof” was a heartfelt song of remembrance with a rare hint of electric guitar on an album that was primarily acoustic among the delicate washes of synths. The band made a rare call back to their signature song with “The Gift Of Rain” sporting the most urgent and mototik beat here, as Campbell recounted a car journey of a fundamentally different kind to the one in “Driving Away From Home.” The chorus here even paid heed to the differences between the songs.

“Sweet journey home
Along the northern highways
Sweet memories carry me home” – “The Gift Of Rain”

The tentative piano notes that began “I Can’t Sleep” were a perfect evocation of tapping your partner on the shoulder as Campbell said “wake up… wake up, Francine.” Relating how the heat in that night put the notion of a night’s sleep off the table. No, this was the time for a swim to cool down. The sustained string patches suspended time as the ambient harmonics took the song off of the pop path to something a little more abstract. Sounding much like the acoustics beneath the pier at the song’s Jackson Sound. The song was as much an environmental as an emotional portrait and the breakdown in the coda seemed to want to go on forever… until the song surprised with a quick fade.

More motorik  rhythmic urgency was found on “In My Dreams” along with subtle, jazzy, acoustic guitar licks. The swelling sustained string chords were a perfect evocation of the rising sun of the song’s chorus. The shimmering synths leading into the chorus added just the right amount of necessary tension to the ultimately languid vibe of the song.

The closing “How Can I Tell You” presented a scenario that seemed like an admission of guilt for a wrong committed that the French woman [Moira Kenney] on the phone with the singer had no knowledge of yet. She interjected “what have you done?” in French throughout the song as a spoken interlude and rhythmic device. As the song progressed, the mention of a promise broken by the call itself advanced to protestations of innocence and a de-escalation of the unnamed action to something less than a sin. Ultimately, the singer rationalized their action by repeating that they only ever did it once on the outro. Having sought confession, they were ready to move on as the french horn synths in the outro brought the gentle song to its closure.

I found it interesting that these songs from the early 90s were unfinished, which leads me to suspect that all of the vocals here were recent for a consistent tone. The band had their work cut out to find a way to get the [obsolete] tapes from almost 30 years ago read successfully. I suspect that had this been finished by 1993, the result would have been closer to a seamless continuation of the vibe the band was exploring on “Song.” By linking up with original producer Callum Malcolm [who accompanied Whitehead and Campbell] and recording in Castlesound Studio, that meant that the sonic footprint of the album adhered close to the imperial Blue Nile sound.

Of course, feel is one thing. It’s Immaterial approached the emotional content of their music in a very different way to The Blue Nile. The band proffered a more dryly dispassionate, conversational tone to their music that was intimate without the more grandiose tone that Paul Buchanan aimed for. But the overriding factor that I feel had the biggest effect on this album, was the fact that it was re-worked and finished contemporaneously. This allowed the band to reflect their current headspace, and it made for an album that was ultimately a half-step away from the vibe on “Song.”

“House For Sale” was a slightly poppier, less abstract album, where the gentle, mid tempo songs and performances could nestle close to the sort of vibe that China Crisis also explored. In that context, especially with Gary Daly inviting Mr. Campbell to perform on his recent solo album, and with the appearance here of CC’s engineer Mark Pythian,  any similarities to that other Liverpudlian band were heightened here,  but ultimately, the emotional tone here was more shadowy and nuanced. Lacking the winsome quality that Mr. Daly usually brought to the music of China Crisis.

The new sessions recorded contemporaneously in Liverpool at Elevator Studios and engineered by Tom Roach were ultimately produced by the band. Bringing a 90s state of mind into the present for a mixed approach. I wonder if the lyrics were even written 30 years ago. Even if they were, I can imagine the accumulated weight of half a lifetime lived since then would inevitably lead to changes. Possibly drastic ones.

If you’ve ever been captured by the gentle, introverted pull of this band then I strongly recommend bringing any ardor for their unique musical presence up to date with a purchase of their third album, which has taken a long, and circuitous path to reach our grateful, 2020 ears. I can hope that there might be another album in the offering in less than half a lifetime from this compelling duo.

post-punk monk buy button

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Record Review: It’s Immaterial Album Shimmers After Almost 30 Years Tucked Away In A Closet [part 2]

it's immaterial - house for salew cover art

It’s Immaterial | UK | CD | 2020 | IICD001

It’s Immaterial: House For Sale – UK – CD [2020]

  1. Summer Rain
  2. Kind Words
  3. Just North of here
  4. Downriver
  5. Tell Me Why
  6. Up On The Roof
  7. The Gift Of Rain
  8. I Can’t Sleep
  9. In My Dreams
  10. How Can I Tell You

[…continued from last post]
The evanescent beauty of “Summer Rain” started the album on a wistful note with a rising string patch under which the crystalline synth loops replicated the feel of rain itself. The spacious vibe that Callum Malcolm dealt in was present in all of these songs. With airy arrangements that never overpowered, except through subtlety. Almost below the threshold of perception were curiously funky synth figures if we listened carefully. Long time China Crisis stalwart Mark Pythian guested here on keys and the vibe would not be out of place for those of a China Crisis persuasion. The subtle acoustic guitar got a chance to have some spotlight in the middle eight on this song of delicate remembrance.

“Kind Words” was a sly samba that proffered vocalist John Campbell in a surprising Lothario role singing a duet of embittered romantic fallout with Eva Peterson as the wronged woman [left with two kids] who upbraids the evasive Campbell role as he swings by [probably not in the best of intentions] to see what he can get away with as the lady sends him packing in spite of his perfunctory overtures of recompense. A surprising “too little, too late” scenario of a heel’s comeuppance for this normally prosaic band.

jarvis whtehead + john campbell

Jarvis Whtehead + John Campbell

Then the album delivered a quintessential It’s Immaterial moment for the third song. “Just North of Here” began with scintillating strings and a tentative piano before the gentle rhythms began and Mr. Campbell dropped the listeners into a potentially dangerous scenario with agitated strangers [possibly given to fits] in a restaurant asking unanswerable, metaphysical questions. Specifically, “where’s heaven?”

Campbells’ classic matter-of-fact delivery was the sort of conversational, intimate performance that no one did better than this band. I loved how the narrator’s relating of this surprising event led to his extended reverie about a fishing trip where, indeed, he  found as close to heaven as he’d ever known; the possible street person he had encountered in the restaurant now forgotten. A red herring of a song opening gambit as he waxed further eloquent on the wonder of that fishing trip that had, in retrospect, made such an impression on the narrator.

The gentle rhythm under the sustained strings and a three note sampled string hook. The song formed was a Mobius loop of longing and beauty that gently pulled the listener in to calm and reassure them that heaven was indeed attainable, if we opened ourselves to the possibilities. By the song’s end, the narrator was ready to leave the restaurant, put his boots on, and go north of town and just disappear…with the last word repeated twice on the fade out.

The abstract synth that sounded like a sampled horn, given an envelope that altered it’s attack and decay considerably, was a continual presence in the epic “Downriver.” The subtle beat of a tom hit and finger snaps grounded the verse structure of the song. The chorus had the tempo matched by a completely different rhythm programming as the song seemed to be woven from two different takes of the same song. The EQ and vibe of the verse being more spacious and abstract, with the chorus structure sounding more compressed. The deep synth bass that occasionally figured in the deep end of this river was eventually outlasted by that almost random sampled horn synth pulling us through the song gently.

Next: …Sleepless Nights + Yet More Rain


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Record Review: It’s Immaterial Album Shimmers After Almost 30 Years Tucked Away In A Closet [part 1]

jarvis whitehead and john campbell

L-R: Jarvis Whitehead + John Campbell of It’s Immaterial

At the very least, It’s Immaterial can be said to have a public profile that comes with having a top 20 British single in the quixotic “Driving Away From Home.” That song was a  high point of the bathetic and gauche mid-80s; it was utterly beholden to no one but itself and was a breath of fresh air for all of us to revel in. However briefly. Alas, the loving public were easy to lose interest in such an idiosyncratic pleasure; preferring novel spectacles of dubious merit to such gentle probing into what makes us human.

Their second album, “Song,” was barely released out into the wilds in 1990. Without the catalogs I relied on, I would not have gotten a copy. The band had worked closely with producer Callum Malcolm on that album at his Castlesound studios, so there was a lot of imperial period Blue Nile [of which Malcolm was certainly an architect of] in the album’s DNA. Of all of the other bands trying for that achingly beautiful and paradoxical “intimate grandeur” in their waxings, only It’s Immaterial came close to that goal with the breathtaking spaciousness of The Blue Nile, but in service to their much more intimate and almost conversational music. The band had gamely begun a third album in 1992, but the collapse of their label among other things, led to the tapes being tabled.

<insert 20+ year gap…>

It was on the old OMD forum back in 2012 [or 2014?] that some fans had posted that It’s Immaterial had been posting a few songs on Soundcloud. I expressed interest but grabbing files off of the internet, even when offered by the musicians, is nothing I have much interest in doing, so I quite frankly forgot about it. Then the band re-emerged on Pledge Music in 2016 with a campaign for “House For Sale,” their third album at last.

<insert 4 year gap…>

Of course, the collapse of Pledge Music meant that many projects like that one were left high and dry. I heard nothing about the particulars, but apparently half of their funding had disappeared; making them one of the luckier acts, from what I’ve read! What I had no idea of at the time, was that there was a second crowd-sourcing appeal that I had heard nothing of [maybe it was on FaceBoot – that would explain why]. This was also successful, and at a certain point I was contacted directly by the band telling me that as a pledger, I would soon have a copy once it was replicated and sent. Needless to say, I was astounded at this news from the blue! I’d heard nothing since I had pledged, four years earlier. I replied to Mr. Campbell that I’d be happy to pay again for the album but he assured me that it was indeed paid for and no further action was needed. I was astonished by this level of commitment by the artist to their pledge equally, to their fans. It’s a rare thing in this fallen world to see such integrity to a commitment. So now we have it and have been listening to it for a few days now. What’s it like? Well, we’ve run out of time today, so join us on the next day’s posting.

Next: …A Beautiful Wormhole



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Record Review: Berlin – Pleasure Victim DLX RM US CD – Another Rubellan Triumph [part 3]

berlin - sex cover art

Geffen Records ‎| US | 7″ | 1983 | 7-29747

[…continued from last post]
What took this CD remaster up to the highest level of interest were the well considered bonus tracks included here, doubling the number of tracks on the disc. Earlier CDs had always included the 12″ remix of “Sex [I’m A…]” but Rubellan Remasters really took this disc to amazing places. This time we got to heard the 7″ remix of “Sex [I’m A…] and the 3:30 edit was surprisingly, a drier mix with less reverb on Teri Nunn’s vocals. It’s still less than optimal listening, but I can’t deny it’s less obnoxious for its brevity. Not hearing Ms. Nunn deadpanning “I’m a slut” can’t be anything but good.

Better still, the US single’s B-side, the pixilated “Tell Me Why” was remixed in a tighter version that dove right into the high energy vibe and never let up after frantic drum fill kicking the song off. A wetter mix this time, with more reverb and synth hooks ping ponging from the left to right channel. Ms. Nunn’s BVs were mixed higher here and I have to say that I preferred the shorter single mix to the album version. The slightly dubby middle section was another rethink that I enjoyed hearing. If I can’t have the 1981 recording, then this was still great to have on the shiny silver disc. The mix here was actually 20 seconds longer than on the 7″ [which I have] due to the master having been faded early for the 7″ release in 1983.

berlin the metro spanish cover artIf I thought the 7″ remix of “Tell Me Why” was ace, then finally hearing the European remix of “The Metro” was a revelation. I’ve wanted this single for ages but the 7″ and 12″ versions were too rich for my blood this far on the marketplace. The 12″ extended remix is still a three figure disc. In the last year, it’s been possible to buy the Spanish/Dutch 7″ remix of “The Metro” for less than $40 [after shipping] but I’m so glad I waited for this CD instead. There’s little chance that whatever I would have sourced would have sounded any where as clean as this version, mastered from tape.

The mix here was profound. The slickness of the track was doubled with new EQ and effects. The handclaps were wetter yet it sounded like noise gating had been applied to them for a bracing effect. The drum track was beefed up considerably. Chorus had been applied to Nunn’s vocals. The uncredited mix showed how a track can be transformed dramatically with the right hands at the desk. Inasmuch as I was now loving “The Metro” the single remix had made a great thing that much better. “Pleasure Victim’s” origins had been a low budget indie recording that had been picked up by a major label once their success turned Geffen heads. It shad ported a d.i.y. production by the band’s drummer, Daniel Van Patten. The flatter original mix was now relegated to second class status.

The changes wrought to “Masquerade” on single remix weren’t so dramatic. But the mix also benefited from greater sonic depth as well. The mix was richer and deeper than the album mix without being substantially changed in sound. The 12″ mix of “Sex [I’m A…]” was here. more space in the mix with some looping in the long intro. The dubbed out break featured the hateful “I’m a slut” line for emphasis as the track dubbed out for a few measures with just the drum beat left. Before the moans of Nunn and Crawford appeared to make my flesh crawl. New rhythm guitar licks in the mix cannot even begin to make up for that unwelcome addition. I really hate music that tries to force me into the role of voyeur. The only slight hint of charm in the whole 8:10 occurred at the very end where a brief ad lib of Ms. Nunn was added saying “[guffaws] I think we hit orgasm.”

berlin p the metro dutch 12" cover artIf I preferred the 7″ remix of “The Metro” the 6:21 extended remix, which was released in The Netherlands, Spain, and the Philippines [?] was a feast for the ears. The song still sounded better and had extensive new instrumental sections fleshing it out as well as a dubby percussion section based on the enhanced handclaps. The new ending was also a treat. It sounded like it could be mixed with Depeche Mode’s “New Life” fairly effortlessly.

berlin dancing in berlin cover artThe “Masquerade” 7:22 was a gift meant just for me. The extended remix was only ever released on the Japanese only remix CD “Dancing In Berlin” in 1987 and that one was always too pricey for my budget. Heck, I didn’t even find out about it until the advent of I might have ordered it in 1987 if I had ever seen it in an import catalog. I had the money and inclination back then. Hearing it now, I still can’t believe that there wasn’t maybe even a US promo 12″ of this one, like there was for “Sex [I’m A].”

The extended remix was a pure, 1982 old-school 12″ version with several minutes of instrumental buildup before Ms. Nunn entered the song with that melody worth a million dollars. The mix was finer, as on the 7″ but it was the differences in the arrangement that made this especially sweet. Where the normal mix of the song would normally end, there was another minute or two left in the song for some new surprises. I especially liked how the synths faded out to make room for an unexpected guitar solo that if it was on the original mix, had been buried to subliminal levels. Then the synth tracks rejoined in time for a reveal of the session cold studio ending instead of a fade. Sweet!

It’s been a delight seeing Rubellan Remasters take albums I am big fans of like the Visage releases, and take them to their ultimate expression since none of the previous stewards of the titles cared enough to do so. The label can make a classic like “Visage” or “The Anvil” gleam like a platinum god on a pedestal goes without saying. But I’m almost more impressed with what they have done with what I [wrongly] considered at best a workmanlike product with serious flaws in “Pleasure Victim,” and turn it into a thoroughbred winner in ways I had not anticipated.

It’s true that my antipathy for just one song had colored my memory of this album unjustly. Blinding me to its many merits. I’d always held a torch for “Masquerade,” which is still my favorite Berlin song, but by being exposed to this album now, I can see I’ve been a bloody fool to discount a track like “The Metro” which I now [smacks forehead] can plainly see as classic material. In spite of the fact that I was perhaps the only one in the room who looked askance at such an admission for, uh… 37 years? I can now see this sitting nicely on the shelf with “Information” and appreciate the advances in production and songwriting [with one exception].

Of course it’s the thorough and detailed addition of seven bonus tracks, three of which I had never heard before that  make this CD compulsory. That they were superb remixes of the two best songs on the album sure didn’t hurt any. While I had asked Scott Davies about the possibility of including the 1981 1st M.A.O. version of “Tell Me Why,” one of my holy grail records, I get it that it was from the band’s indie period and therefore not party to UMG’s archive of Berlin masters. The inclusion of amazing remixes that were only available in foreign territories more than made up for that understandable omission. And of course, all of the cuts were given a mastering that sounded fantastic with full-bodied dynamic range that has made me a willing pleasure victim for the last two weeks.

This CD will be one of the label’s top sellers, and as of tomorrow it will be distributed widely beyond the label’s webstore in numerous places. You may even see it in the racks of a store that dares to stock the Hipster Kryptonite® that we love so well here! My suggestion? If any of this calls out to you, buy it now. This disc will sell out its initial run within weeks. Then more will be pressed and the cycle will repeat until the license has passed. And then copies of this will exchange hands for large figures. Why wait for the heartbreak? Just hit that button and buy it now from the label itself [max karma, of course!] and prepare to be amazed.

post-punk monk buy button

– 30 –

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Record Review: Berlin – Pleasure Victim DLX RM US CD – Another Rubellan Triumph [part 2]

berlin masquerade cover art

Geffen Records | US | 7″ | 1983 | 7-29504

[…continued from last post]
After enduring “Sex [I’m a…]” then the album picks up the level of achievement considerably with a strong “side two.” “Masquerade” has always been my go-to Berlin song. From the pen of guitarist Chris Ruiz-Velasco, it began with a motorik bass synth pulse ripped straight from “All Stood Still,” and featured real drums working at playing the Ultravox game and playing the game extremely well! At the heart of the song the cascading melody entwined in on itself effortlessly; pasting this melody in my skull for hours at a time.

The interplay between the traditional elements of the track and the crystalline synths and string patches simply nails the balance between technology and tradition that works best for me. Sadly, Velasco was out of the band by the time of their third album the following year. A pity. I’d loved to have heard more songs of the potency of “Masquerade” in Berlin’s artistic quiver. It’s just a superb pop song with great performances. At various points in the song Terri Nunn was multi tracked with her vocals forming a winning web of sound.

berlin - the metro cover artThe “hit single” in America was “The Metro” since the other single, “Sex [I’m A…]” was only ever going to be intended for club play. A not unimportant concern of the time to break new bands. Especially those with a less than traditional “rock” grounding like Berlin. “The Metro” managed to get a respectable showing on MTV at the time and got as high as 58 in the US pop charts.  I liked the song back then, but was always too enrapt with “Masquerade” to pay too much heed to its many excellent qualities.  Until recently!

For a start, the song was the most synthetic track that Berlin may have ever recorded. With just drum machine, synthetic handclap percussion and insistent, pulsating synthesizer predominating. I can hear only scant guitars chords embedded deep in the song’s chorus. The motorik energy here was of a high level of urgency. I loved the pitch bent, strident synth solo in the wordless middle eight among the howling, synthetic air raid sirens. The tritone European police sirens on the fadeout were another finishing touch that effectively staked a valid claim in the band’s European aspirations. This was certainly not Middle American, breadbasket rock music. And I love this single about three times as much now as I did in 1982. And I liked it then.

Not having a copy of this album for 35 years gives me a different experience of it today, as opposed to when it was released. For instance, in 1982, I didn’t even know about the “Information” album. Now, I can hear a quirky track like “World Of Smiles” with it’s gimmicky, lurching “New Wave” rhythms and draw a clear line to the overall vibe on the  preceding “Information” album. It clearly sounded like a song that dated back to that period or perhaps immediately afterward. I could add it as a bonus track to my CD of it and but for the fact that it was sung by Terri Nunn, it would fit more seamlessly on that album than this one. And John Crawford’s recitation [not quite singing] on the middle eight, recalled nothing as much to my ears as the tone of vocal attack used by John Foxx on a track like “Artificial Life!”

I liked the hard cut segue from the end of “World Of Smiles” straight into the closing track,  the aptly named “Torture.” With its plodding drum machine rhythms and melodramatic piano and mournful synths it was perhaps another outlier that these were Ultravox fans since the song shared a bit of vibe with something like “Your Name [Has Slipped My Mind Again.].” But Ultravox would have given greater emphasis to the wordless bass vocals chanted as the despairing little ditty ground to a halt.

Next: …Mixing It Up

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Record Review: Berlin – Pleasure Victim DLX RM US CD – Another Rubellan Triumph [part 1]

berlin - pleasure victim cover art

Rubellan Remasters | US | CD | RUBY15CD | 2020

Berlin: Pleasure Victim DLX RM – US – CD [2020]

  1. Tell Me Why 5:34
  2. Pleasure Victim 3:50
  3. Sex (I’m A…) 5:07
  4. Masquerade 4:07
  5. The Metro 4:10
  6. World Of Smiles 3:51
  7. Torture 2:40
  8. Sex (I’m A…) (Single Remix) 3:31
  9. Tell Me Why (Single Remix) 4:10
  10. The Metro (Euro Single Remix) 4:28
  11. Masquerade (Single Remix) 4:04
  12. Sex (I’m A…) (Extended Remix) 8:08
  13. The Metro (Extended Remix) 6:19
  14. Masquerade (Extended Remix) 7:22

We’ve been anticipating this one most of the year, thanks to the transparent stream of news that label maestro Scott Davies drip feeds us on the Steve Hoffman Music Forums. When my spouse recently asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I simply her sent a link to Rubellan Remasters for the last four releases. They are now on rack and today it’s the 2nd album [or mini-album, since it’s was originally seven tracks] which we’ll start looking at.

I was into Berlin from the point of hearing the original 7″ of “Tell Me Why” in late 1981, and when Geffen picked up the top selling LP from Enigma [which was not in my local stores at the time, only in intriguing ads in Trouser press] I bought a copy in late 1982 once it was easy to obtain. I was always disappointed by the re-recording of “Tell Me Why” on it and quite frankly “Sex [I’m A…]” gave me hives. These two factors contributed to me never really embracing this release back in the day, and it was cut free in the Great Vinyl Purge. Now that it finally exists on CD, in a format worthy of my attention, this has now changed, And dramatically, for what it’s worth.

Let’s get right to the starting line. The re-recording of “Tell Me Why” has a pixelated energy that I recall the original not having; being more smooth and sophisticated of mien. At least my 39 year old memory is. I don’t have the record. It’s still rather expensive. But one day, one hopes! Had I not ever heard that early version first, I might have more fully embraced the song as performed here. It’s the great blend of guitars, analog synths, and real drums that we love here at PPM. Technopop, as I’d call it. I like the gimmicky synth stabs as they fairly reek of New Wave. It’s still a step forward in vibe from the quirkier New Wave of their rare debut album, “Information.” As much as their next album for Geffen, 1983’s “Love Life,” was a move to something even more removed from the forge of New Wave that had birthed the band.

berlin pleasure victim UK cover artThe delicate title track almost had a John Barry Bond Music vibe to it, as it was a stab at a more commercial dusky ballad perfect for an overcast fall day following a failed love affair. None of the New Wave quirkiness that was so evident on “Tell Me Why.” The music bed was almost all synths with real bass and drums ceding the spotlights to the synth strings and heavy portamento lead keys. The sound was thin and introverted, but appropriate to the song and lyric with good singing as usual from Terri Nunn. I have the UK 7″ single as shown nearby where only UK Mercury made this one a single. Berlin have an interesting number of singles that were with only one or two territories in addition to singles [you can guess which ones] which are international calling cards.

berlin - sex cover artThen there’s “Sex.” Normally I’m more than happy to listen to a band deep into the Moroder well of sequenced electromotive power, but there was always something callow, and distasteful about this song for me. It comes down to attitude. Prince can be blunt and vulgar and make it sound wonderful. Not so much with John Crawford. His pen lacks the wisdom and playfulness that The Purple One brings to erotic song. Crawford sounds like a boy out of his depth with the conceit of this song. The song is simply Crawford stiffly intoning “well I’m a man” while Ms. Nunn adopted various female sexual personae in response. As if the difference in perceptions was somehow profound and [dare I say] risky. I have squirmed in embarrassment for the band every time I have heard this song, which proudly wears its immaturity on its sleeve.

Next: …Masks Of A Different Kind


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The Dury Is Out…But New Chaz Jankel Boxed Set Wraps Up His Full Solo Career

chaz jankel glad to know you box cover art

Cherry Red | UK | 5xCD | 2020 | CRCDBOX104

Chaz Jankel: Glad To Know You The Anthology 1980-1986 – UK – 5xCD [2020]

CD 1: Chas Jankel

  1. Ai No Corrida
  2. Peace, At Last
  3. Just A Thought
  4. Lenta Latina
  5. Fuse
  6. Am I Honest With Myself Really?
  7. Reverie

CD 2: Chasanova/questionnaire

  1. 109
  2. Johnny Funk
  3. Now You’re Dancing
  4. Magic Of Music
  5. Glad To Know You
  6. Boy
  7. Questionnaire
  8. 3,000,000 Synths
  9. Glad To Know You
  10. Questionnaire

CD 3: Chazablanca

  1. Theme To Chazablanca
  2. Without You
  3. I Can Get Over It (If You Can Get Over Here)
  4. Tell Me
  5. Pretty Thing
  6. Whisper
  7. All I Want To Do Is Dance
  8. Davis
  9. Thank You Very Much

CD 4: Looking At You

  1. Hard Music
  2. Tonight’s Our Night
  3. Rhythm In My Life
  4. Little Eva
  5. Eastern Light
  6. Number One
  7. Tell Me, Tell Me
  8. Looking At You
  9. The Boy On The Bridge
  10. Love Rhythms

CD 5: Remixes

  1. You’re My Occupation (Extended) (Featuring Brenda Jones)
  2. Rêve De Chèvre
  3. 109 (Give Me Something I Can Remember) (Special Extended Version)
  4. Without You (Extended Version)
  5. To Woo Lady Kong
  6. Am I Honest With Myself Really? (Edit)
  7. No. 1 (Manhattan Mix)
  8. Johnny Funk (Extended)
  9. 3,000,000 Synths (Single Edit)
  10. Tonight’s The Night (Edit)
  11. You’re My Occupation (Dub Version Remix)
  12. No. 1 (Dub Mix)

Yow! I guess today’s the day to discuss something I just found out about last week. The four solo albums that the very talented Chaz Jankel made while apart from Ian Dury and following the breakup of The Blockheads. I remember reading about his Quincey Jones cover of “Ai No Corrida” being a dancefloor smash in the Billboard Disco section [where I paid attention to the new 12″ single action…] but to this day I have not heard it. Come to think of it, the only Chaz Jankel I have ever heard was the title track to his 2nd album “Questionaire” [as it was known in America]. It was called “Chasanova” in most other territories. The title track to the album was a widely seen music video that got play everywhere in ’81-’82 as it was directed by his very talented sister Annabel Jankel [who ran Cucumber Studios, an animation studio, with her creative partner Rocky Morton].  If you’ve not clapped eyeballs on it, it’s embedded below, so hit that button.

chaz jankel - questionaire cover artI had wanted the album with “Questionaire” on it for ages. Since it came out, really, but I only ever found a copy of it on LP [there was never a CD] some years back after at least 30 years of looking for one! I’ve still not taken the time to clean/spin/digitize it… as is depressingly common. Given how the video was so ubiquitous, it should not have been that hard. When I look into Jankel’s oeuvre, I’m struck by how all four of his albums were released in America on A+M; his label on both sides of the Atlantic. I recall seeing the first one only in 40+ years of crate digging. Given that fact, here’s another Jankel video to make his case; “Without You,” from “Chazablanca.”

Now all of the album tracks and the requisite 12″ remixes are out on Cherry Red [who else is out there now except for Rubellan Remasters and he’s not done a box…yet]  on November 27th. Pricing is £23.99 /$31.00 – the usual very fair Cherry Red price for this much music. If I bought everything they released that I could stand to hear, I’d be down probably $150/month! It’s still early enough for pre-orders to get an autographed copy so if you want to celebrate the results of the American election, there’s a lot worse you could be listening to than the accomplished, joyful disco of Chaz Jankel.

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