Thursday, 30 September 2021

Another Modern Dance

Back to 1981 and the rest of K-Tel's Modern Dance compilation, originally featured last month. As with the previous selection, I've split the original, crammed vinyl Side 1 into two, expanding a few tracks into the more spacious 12" versions. Quiet Life was first released as a B-side in 1980, but it's re-release as an A-side in September 1981 saw it reach #19 in the UK, their biggest hit until Ghosts the following year. I think I've cheated a bit with the John 'Tokes' Potoker remix of Heaven 17, as I don't think it's from 1981. My (now very crackly) vinyl version came from the Contenders 12" double pack single and it featured simultaneously on their Endless remix cassette, both from 1986, but I prefer it to the original 12" version, so here it is. Sweat In Bullet was the first Simple Minds 12" I bought, albeit probably also circa 1985-86, but what a song. My copy used to jump part way through, and I remember having to weight the needle with a blob of Blu Tack to get an uninterrupted play. The Garden was the first John Foxx album I bought, mainly for the single which I'd seen on Top Of The Pops. A surprise to find three decades on that it only got to #40 at the time. She's Got Claws suffered a particularly harsh K-Tel cut to less than three and half minutes on the original album, so I've gone to the other extreme with this selection and included the full 12" version which clocks in at over six minutes. 
 
Modern Dance is one of a few compilations that have stayed with me over the years, none of the songs becoming over familiar or overplayed. 1981 was a great year for slightly off-kilter pop music.
 
Side One (22:41)
1) Joan Of Arc (Album Version): O.M.D. (1981)
2) Quiet Life (7" Version): Japan (1980)
3) Love Action (I Believe In Love) (12" Edit): The Human League (1981)
4) Penthouse And Pavement (12" Mix By John 'Tokes' Potoker): Heaven 17 (1981)
5) New Life (Remix): Depeche Mode (1981)

Side Two (21:26)
1) Sweat In Bullet (Remix): Simple Minds (1981)
2) Europe After The Rain (Album Version): John Foxx (1981)
3) Charlotte Sometimes (Single Version): The Cure (1981)
4) She's Got Claws (Extended): Gary Numan (1981)
 

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Been Tryin' Hard Not To Get Into Trouble

Listening to 4 Hero's remix of Nuyorican Soul sidestepped me into Photek's remix of 4 Hero and so to today's selection. Rupert Parkes began releasing music under numerous aliases in the early 1990s, Photek emerging in 1994 and being the most enduring of these, still in use today. Part of the hideously named genre, intelligent drum and bass, like his contemporaries Roni Size, LTJ Bukem and Goldie, what really appealed to me was the complex rhythms and jazz inflections. As a nod to the latter, a track on Photek's debut album, KJZ, was an acronym for Kirk's Jazz. By the start of the 21st Century, Photek's sound had taken a turn into house and techno, though as this selection highlights, there is an identity and character linking all of Photek's music. I've lost track in the last few years, and I have read that Parkes has subsequently produced music for films, TV and games, his last album release being the soundtrack to EA Games' Need For Speed in 2016.
 
For this selection, I've focused solely on Photek's remixes for other artists. It's great to listen to these in one go, personal favourites being Loose by Therapy?, Destiny by Zero 7, I Miss You by Björk and the one that started this all, Star Chasers by 4 Hero. The remix of Paul Simon was a welcome return in 2018 and one of the few redeeming tracks on the otherwise questionable Graceland: The Remixes album. I hadn't heard Photek's remix of The Faint in 5 years and it struck how well it would sit in a mixtape next to songs from John Grant's latest album, Boy From Michigan, particularly The Rusty Bull or Your Portfolio. And how else to end but with Single by Everything But The Girl? The original version is sublime; Photek's remix provides a similar shiver down the spine. Twenty five years old and still sounding like it could be out right now.

1) The Lonely Night (Photek Remix): Moby ft. Mark Lanegan & Mindy Jones (2013)
2) Destiny (Photek Remix): Zero 7 ft. Sia & Sophie Barker (2001)
3) Alien (Photek Remix): Lamb (1999)
4) Total Job (Remixed By Photek): The Faint (2003)
5) Loose (Photek Remix): Therapy? (1995)
6) Ride (Photek B21 Edit): Lana Del Rey (2012)
7) Lie Down In Darkness (Photek Remix): Moby (2011)
8) All Around The World Or The Myth Of Fingerprints (Photek Remix): Paul Simon (2018)
9) I Miss You (Photek Mix): Björk (1996)
10) Star Chasers (Photek Remix): 4 Hero (1998)
11) Single (Photek Remix): Everything But The Girl (1996)

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun

In 1971, (The New) Rotary Connection releases their fifth and final album, Hey, Love. The writing was already on the wall: superlative singer Minnie Riperton had already been presented as a solo artist the previous Christmas; although a few years away from career-defining song, Lovin' You, her prodigious talent was unmistakable. The last gasp of the Rotary Connection was no half-baked effort, however, and contained the epic blast of celebration and affirmation that is I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun.

A quarter of century later in 1997, Kenny 'Dope' Gonzalez & 'Little' Louie Vega aka Masters At Work revisited this classic as Nuyorican Soul. Apart from the switch from male to female lead vocals - superbly released by Jocelyn Brown - it's a pretty faithful take on the song.

Their remix as Masters At Work ups the funky beats and sprinkles in some Q-Tip for good measure...

...but the winner for me is the 4 Hero Remix, which retains much of the original, then explodes into a breakbeat and strings frenzy in the latter half, to stirring effect.

Last but not least is a more recent take from 2018 by Toshio Matsuura Group, the Japanese DJ and producer joined by an impressive line up, including Tom Herbert (The Invisible, Acoustic Ladyland) on bass, Dan Leavers (The Comet Is Coming) on piano, Crispin "Spry" Robinson (Galliano) on percussion, Tom Skinner (Sons Of Kemet) on drums and Cuban vocalist, composer, arranger, choir director, and band leader Daymé Arocena on vocals. This version is heavier on guitar and drops into a rousing samba for the climax. You can buy the song here.
 
 


Monday, 27 September 2021

Stanlow

As we find ourselves in the midst of HGV driver shortages and panic buying at petrol stations in the UK, there has been renewed speculation that the Stanlow oil refinery in Ellesmere Port is "on the brink of collapse".

Like many, I became aware of Stanlow due to the eponymous song on Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark's second album Organisation, released in 1980. The album opens with sole single - and #8 hit in the UK - Enola Gay and closes with the beautiful, sparse Stanlow. My older brother had O.M.D.'s self-titled debut and Organisation on cassette and I was really affected by the music.

Fast forward to 8th November 2019 and I got to see O.M.D. live in concert for a second time. They played at the Bath Pavilion, which was a relatively intimate venue, and Stanlow was the opening song. It was spectacular start to a memorable evening.
 
Co-written by Andy McCluskey & Paul Humphreys, Stanlow remains one of O.M.D.'s finest moments.
 
Eternally
This field remains
Stanlow
 
No heart or head or mind
No season could erase
We set you down
To care for us
Stanlow
 
A vision fading fast
A million hearts to one
So restrained
She turns away
Stanlow
 
I've seen her face in every day
The same routine along the way
Tonight in the rain
Alone
 
And then again it's been so long
Since one single promise kept
All to say to
Reason
 
We wanted a heart
To say what we want to
A morning comes just as it left
A warmer feeling seldom owned
And tonight
All I see
Alone
 
And as she turned we always knew
That her heart was never there
 
 

Sunday, 26 September 2021

Just Close Your Eyes Again Until These Things Get Better

Inspired by yesterday's post at The Vinyl Villain, here's a Sunday selection of Roddy Frame and Aztec Camera, refreshing 10 songs I haven't played for a while.

Side One (18:40)
1) In My Life (Cover of The Beatles): Roddy Frame (2002)
2) Western Skies: Roddy Frame (2006)
3) Bigger Brighter Better: Roddy Frame (1998)
4) Set The Killing Free: Aztec Camera (1983)
5) Rainy Season: Aztec Camera (1995)

Side Two (19:18)
1) True Colors (Cover of Cyndi Lauper): Aztec Camera (1990)
2) Song For A Friend: Aztec Camera (1990)
3) Jump (Single Version) (Cover of Van Halen): Aztec Camera (1984)
4) We Could Send Letters (Album Version): Aztec Camera (1983)
5) Forty Days Of Rain: Roddy Frame (2014)

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Second Intermission

Today's post spotlights the songwriting genius of Robert Forster & Grant McLennan, specifically their solo ventures between 1990 and 1997. This was collected in 2007 as a 2CD set called Intermission, which I reviewed on my old blog in a regular series called Jukebox Juicebox. This review was originally posted Sunday 26th August 2007. You might need a hot drink and a packet of biscuits, it's a long one...
 
In the wake of Grant McLennan’s untimely death last year, a reappraisal of his solo career (and that of fellow Go-Between co-founder Robert Forster) is long overdue. A single CD and thirteen tracks apiece seems rather miserly, particularly given McLennan’s prodigious solo output. And ignore the ‘best of’ sub-title - listen to these compilations as primers rather than comprehensive overviews. It’s immediately apparent how effortlessly the songs complement one another: you can shuffle the tracklistings or even compile your own pseudo-Go-Betweens album from these songs; the end results will still sound perfect. 
 
A lazy shorthand summary of the music on Intermission could describe Robert Forster’s CD as earnest and intelligent (alt.) country, McLennan’s as simple, acoustic-led folk tales and love songs. The country and western references in the Forster’s songs are easy to spot: liberal use of slide guitar, pedal steel and violin; lyrics that dwell on past relationships and rekindling the fires of lost love; even a C&W cover version in Frisco Depot. Yet, Forster’s songs have always opted for complexity over simplicity and this is obvious after just a single listen. Danger In The Past, the title track from his 1990 debut solo album, is a prime example. The narrator’s account of being drawn back into the life of a friend who has recently been hospitalised (sectioned?) is hauntingly beautiful. The repetition of the title throughout the song emphasises the poignancy of the verses, notably the choice line “…I took your hand and I told you never show your problems in a country town.” I’m reminded of The Modern Lovers’ Hospital and I think it’s fair to draw parallels between Jonathan Richman and Robert Forster. 
 
On a different note, Danger In The Past (both the song and album) was produced by Mick Harvey, whose contributions on piano add a melancholy that underpins Forster’s searching lyrics. Forster’s final solo album included here, 1996’s Warm Nights, similarly benefits from an influential producer and guest musician, Edwyn Collins. In keeping with the album’s title, Collins brings a warmth to the three songs included on Intermission, his distinctive guitar enabling high point Cryin’ Love to rock out in an early 1970s style. 
 
I feel compelled to offer some criticism and it is that the album is topped and tailed by Falling Star. Despite being a great song, two versions are not required, especially given the limited selection of tracks on offer. Personally, I would have ditched Mick Harvey’s original version from 1990, as the version on 1992’s Calling From A Country Phone benefits from a superior, more spacious re-recorded take. It also seems somewhat out of place to add a cover version though, given that 1994’s I Had A New York Girlfriend featured nothing but covers, inescapable. I’m not heard Mickey Newbury’s 1971 original of Frisco Depot or, for that matter, Waylon Jennings or Scott Walker’s versions from 1972 and 1973 respectively. It’s impossible to guess whether Forster’s languid take observes or ignores any of these though, to a certain extent, it’s a moot point as in my opinion it’s the compilation’s only slight dip in quality.

Unlike Forster’s ‘mix and match’ approach, Grant McLennan’s CD2 follows a strict chronological progression through his four solo albums. Things get off to cracking start with 1991’s Haven’t I Been A Fool and Easy Come Easy Go, their immediacy and accessibility begging the question why both weren’t mainstream radio smashes and blasting out of car windows everywhere that summer. Black Mule, the final selection from debut solo album Watershed and recently featured on last year’s stunning Go-Betweens live DVD/CD That Striped Sunlight Sound, is a great example of McLennan’s lyrical skill. Evoking Australia’s past in the song’s main tale of a prospector, McLennan switches in the final verse to a man “walking down a Beirut Street” who is blown up by a car bomb. This juxtaposition of observations that “life can be cruel” should jar, but somehow works. 
 
The similarly wonderful Hot Water, a violin-led ballad, opens with the line “I read about your death in the paper when I was buying tomato seed”. The narrator reflects on a past spent “carrying our flowers to the barricades watching them cops kick down the door” whilst living in a present “seeing my payin’ horses foam” under a “big old sun”. It’s a moving song, McLennan’s economy of lyric and melody understating the true depth of his writing. The closing trio of songs from 1997’s final solo album In Your Bright Ray demonstrate that whilst McLennan’s songs had not evolved in the way that Forster’s arguably had, his basic template had been refined and near as dammit perfected. This is evident in the closing title track, which could just as easily sit on The Go-Betweens’ 2000 comeback album The Friends Of Rachel Worth
 
And that in essence is why entitling this compilation Intermission is so appropriate. Robert Forster and Grant McLennan’s solo ventures provided an opportunity for the artists with room to breathe outside of The Go-Betweens, to develop and hone their formidable songwriting skills; in retrospect, their reunion seemed inevitable. Another good title for this compilation would be Chrysalis, but Intermission really says it all; the fact that it was chosen by Grant McLennan makes it even more apt. Whether you are familiar with The Go-Betweens or not, you really do need to check out this beautifully packaged compilation. And, once you’ve fallen in love with it – and believe me, you will – then the desire to explore the rest of Robert Forster and Grant McLennan’s back catalogue will be a natural next step.
 
Postcript, 25th September 2021
I am a huge fan of The Go-Betweens but I still feel that I've not spent as much time with this solo period as I could have. I've followed the advice of my 2007 review and compiled my own pseudo-Go-Betweens album from these songs, mirroring the band's typical approach of 5 songs apiece, alternating between the two songwriters. What's immediately evident is that this is not The Go-Betweens, but I think I hit on something by suggesting the alternative title of Chrysalis: although it was never a foregone conclusion, this compilation is a snapshot of two artists finding their own paths, which ultimately converged further down the line to a new path as The Go-Betweens. In another bit of unintended but lovely synchronicity, both sides of this compilation ended up being (almost) exactly the same duration. Beautiful.

Side One (20:54)
1) The Dark Side Of Town: Grant McLennan (1992)
2) 121: Robert Forster (1993)
3) In Your Bright Ray: Grant McLennan (1997)
4) Baby Stones: Robert Forster (1990)
5) Black Mule: Grant McLennan (1991)
 
Side Two (20:55)
1) I've Been Looking For Somebody: Robert Forster (1990)
2) One Plus One: Grant McLennan (1997)
3) Falling Star (Album Version): By Robert Forster (1993)
4) Horsebreaker Star: Grant McLennan (1994)
5) Cryin' Love: Robert Forster (1996)
 

Friday, 24 September 2021

A Crawl Around The Clubs Getting High

Dusting off some sorely neglected (by me, at least) club cuts, ready for the Friday dancefloor, personally these days a patch of carpet between the sofa and the TV. I'd forgotten how much I love these songs: the Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and Cortney Tidwell tracks are particular delights; Fred Falke and Mark Pritchard are guaranteed to get me shaking (although there's now a simultaneous creaking and rattling); the brief detour to Japan via 5th Garden & Pizzicato Five brings a smile every time; Prins Thomas, James Zabiela & DJ Q bring some serious beats and, to cap it all off, one of my favourite ever remixes by The Orb. The original version of Home by PWEI supplies today's post title. Happy Friday, everyone!

1) Carambola (Mark Pritchard Remix): Azymuth (2000)
2) I Feel Bonnie (House Mix): Hot Chip ft. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (2010)
3) Kanal (Prins Thomas Sure Oppstøt): Telephones (2010)
4) Don't Let Stars Keep Us Tangled Up (Ewan Pearson's Objects In Space Vocal Remix): Cortney Tidwell (2007)
5) Candy (James Zabiela Remix): Spooky (2008)
6) Animal (Fred Falke Remix): Miike Snow (2009)
7) Cooking (Arling & Cameron High Pressure Mix): 5th Garden (1998)
8) Love's Theme (Saint Etienne Mix): Pizzicato Five (1997)
9) R U Still In To It? (DJ Q Remix): Mogwai (1998)
10) Home (Orb Sweet Sin And Salvation Mix): Pop Will Eat Itself (1995

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Revenge Is A Dish...Best Served Cold

Songs about revenge this morning. 'Nuff said.

Revenge Is A Dish... (17:19)
1) Revenge (Against The World): Martha & The Muffins (1980)
2) The Hazards Of Love 3 (Revenge!): The Decemberists (2009)
3) Kasparov's Revenge: Lo Fidelity Allstars (1998)
4) Revenge: Eurythmics (1981)
 
...Best Served Cold (18:53)
1) Living Well Is The Best Revenge (Album Version): R.E.M. (2008) 
2) The Princess Takes Her Revenge (Album Version By Prince Jammy): The Roots Radics (1982)
3) Genie's Revenge (Full Version) (Christina Aguilera vs. The Strokes): Go Home Productions (2002)
4) Wikki's Revenge: London Funk Allstars (1996)
5) Revenge: Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse ft. Wayne Coyne (2009)

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Scratch The Surface

I was devastated to read that Richard H. Kirk died yesterday (21st September) at the age of 65. His achievements with Cabaret Voltaire alone secure a place in music history, and his prodigious output as a solo artist, aliases including Sandoz, collaborations such as Sweet Exorcist (with Richard Barratt) and many, many remixes kept him at the cutting edge of electronic music. Richard H. Kirk re-established Cabaret Voltaire as a solo venture in the late Noughties with remix albums/EPs for Kora and The Tivoli and, in 2020, released the first Cabs album in 26 years with Shadow Of Fear. A couple of drone albums and an EP followed this year, proof if needed that Richard H. Kirk was creatively in rude health. I can't express how much his music has meant to me and this hastily compiled selection doesn't even begin to scratch the surface.
 
1) The Arm Of The Lord: Cabaret Voltaire (1985)
2) Diskono (Alternate): Cabaret Voltaire (1982)
3) In Slumber (Richard H. Kirk Mix): Anne Garner (2005)
4) Brain, Whisper, Head, Hate Is Noise (Remix By RHK aka Richard H. Kirk): Buck-Tick (1994)
5) Yashar (John Robie Mix 2): Cabaret Voltaire (1982)
6) Tripping On Your Love (Sweet Exorcist Mix By Richard H. Kirk & Richard Barratt): Bananarama (1991)
7) Shadow Of Funk (Edit): Cabaret Voltaire (2021)
8) Do Right (Album Version): Cabaret Voltaire (1984)
9) Kino 5 (C/V Western Re-Work: 92): Cabaret Voltaire (1992)
10) Geezer (Sweet Exorcist Remix By Richard H. Kirk & Richard Barratt): Ultramarine (1992)
11) Cockpit Country: Sandoz (1998)
12) Baader Meinhof: Cabaret Voltaire (1979)
13) Nag Nag Nag (Single Version): Cabaret Voltaire (1979)
 

 

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

As Obsessed With Evolution As Ever

My introduction to, and education in, Bill Callahan pretty much came from cover mounted CDs with music magazines. This selection has been taken from various Mojo and Uncut magazine promos but, to these ears, flows naturally, like one of Callahan's lyrical rivers.
 
Side One (22:02)
1) One Fine Morning (2011)
2) The Ballad Of The Hulk (Album Version) (2019)
3) Held (Live @ The Toff, Melbourne, Australia, 08 November 2007)
4) The Sing (2013)

Side Two (21:17)
1) Sycamore (2007)
2) Ry Cooder (2020)
3) Eid Ma Clack Shaw (2009)
4) Young Icarus (2019)
5) So Long, Marianne (Cover of Leonard Cohen) (2012) 
 

Monday, 20 September 2021

Concurrence

Jezebell is a collaboration between Darren Bell, London-based DJ, label owner and promoter, and Jesse Fahnestock, Stockholm-based American DJ and producer who is no stranger to this blog, following this year's remixes and debut album (All Of Us) as 10:40.
 
Jezebell debuted in June this year with their edit of Julian Cope's Safesurfer on Paisley Dark Records, which was featured over at Bagging Area, along with a 10:40 remix of The Beta Band's Inner Meet Me. Both were enough to get me hooked and I've been enjoying everything that's come since. 
 
Jezebell released a new single on Friday, Concurrence, available on Swedish label When Disco Goes Wrong with three remixes. The original is described as "a thundering, dark slice of Eastern psychedelic dub, powered by a half-speed-but-double-attack breakbeat and a gymnastic vocal sample". To these ears, it's like hearing Sheila Chandra with John Bonham on drums and I can't get enough of it. Label co-founder Mårten Attling provides a brace of remixes in his Mindbender alias, the Acid Dub Remix and the Rave Remake delivering on their promise to great effect. The remix package kicks off with the 10:40 Dabadisco Dub, a persistent groove taking the song around the dancefloor before dropping you back home. Four versions, five Euros, worth every cent - buy the lot now.
 
Sticking with 10:40, catching up with my Bagging Area reading at the weekend put me onto a new song, Kissed Again, which was released earlier this month on the Higher Love Vol. 1 compilation. It's a wonderful collection and closes out beautifully with this track, described by Swiss Adam as "blissed out glide-by". He's not wrong. 
 
Buy 10:40 on Bandcamp
 

Sunday, 19 September 2021

Living One Hell Of A Heaven

Just under a year ago, The Vinyl Villain posted An Imaginary Compilation album that I did, featuring Julian Cope live in concert. This is a follow up of sorts and was done on the fly, starting at 6.00am this morning, having been woken up abruptly by a yowling, hungry cat and feeling a bit frayed around the edges. Similarly, the quality of the (mostly bootleg) recordings varies wildly from one gig to the next, which mirrors my woozy, half-awake state when I began this. I'm dedicating this one to fellow fan Mike, whose enthusiastic response to my throwaway reference to Fear Loves This Place yesterday inspired this post.
 
1) Intro / I'm Living In The Room They Found Saddam In (Live @ The Fleece, Bristol, 01 February 2015)
2) Double Vegetation (Live @ Barrowland, Glasgow, 30 September 1995)
3) Shot Down (Live @ Westminster Central Halls, London, January 1987)
4) Read It In Books (Live @ Bizarre Festival, Freilichtbühne Loreley, St. Goarshausen, Germany, 11 July 1987)
5) East Easy Rider (Live @ Barrowland, Glasgow, 30 September 1995)
6) Hairy Music (Live @ Lyric Hammersmith, London, October 2003)
7) You Think It's Love (Live In Japan, 1991)
8) Sleeping Gas (Live @ Mathew Street, Liverpool, 2008) (ft. Black Sheep)
9) World Shut Your Mouth (Live @ The Fleece, Bristol, 09 February 2020)
10) Fear Loves This Place (Live @ Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Bracknell, 25 October 2011)
11) Cunts Can Fuck Off (Live @ The Fleece, Bristol, 09 February 2020)
12) Immortal (Live @ The Fleece, Bristol, 09 February 2020)
13) Outro (Live @ Wilde Theatre, South Hill Park, Bracknell, 25 October 2011)


Saturday, 18 September 2021

Pleasure, Joy And Happiness

What originally started as an intentionally tongue-in-cheek post about 90s soul pop duo Charles & Eddie led me down an unexpected rabbit hole...
 
Charles & Eddie, aka Charles Pettigrew & Eddie Chacon, were an American soul music duo who had a UK #1 for 2 weeks in October 1992 with Would I Lie To You? The parent album Duophonic reached #19 but none of their subsequent singles troubled the Top 20. After a follow up album in 1995, Charles & Eddie amicably went their separate ways.

 
I'd describe Charles & Eddie as a guilty pleasure, only I don't feel any guilt whatsoever. Whilst other 1992 favourites included the Broken and Fixed EPs by Nine Inch Nails, the two Radiccio 12" singles by Orbital and Fear Loves This Place by Julian Cope, I had a lot of love for Would I Lie to You? Part of the affection came from my enduring impression that Eddie was throwing his poor mate Charles under the bus. Bear with me...
 
The basic gist of the song is that Charles is trying to convince his lover that he is faithful, in the face of rumours to the contrary. It's not revealed who has been spreading this malicious gossip, but I think it's obvious that the perpetrator is hiding in plain sight.

Charles continually pleads "Don't you know it's true girl,  there's no one else but you! Would I lie to you, baby?" to which Eddie responds "Oh, yeah!"

Clearly, Eddie thought the subject of Charles' impassioned argument was with the wrong guy and was trying his darndest to split them up. Who needs enemies with friends like these?!

Great song, though.

What started as a one (admittedly not very funny) joke and (I thought) fairly quick and simple post took a turn when I looked up Charles & Eddie to write the opening intro/background. I knew that Charles had passed away but I wasn't aware that he'd joined Tom Tom Club in 1998 and remained a member until his death in 2001. To be honest, the one studio album he appeared on, 2000's The Good The Bad And The Funky, is a far cry from their 1980s peak. 
 
Eddie's subsequent musical career, however, is far more interesting...
 
 
 
After a break of almost 15 years, Eddie's next musical venture was again as a duo, this time with wife Sissy Sainte-Marie as The Polyamorous Affair. They released three albums between 2008 and 2010 and, from what I've heard so far, it's compelling 'disturbdance' music (to pinch a phrase from Propaganda's Wishful Thinking). The videos, including 2009's White Hot Magic and the 'Uncut Director's Cut' of 2010's Softer And Softer, are also equally dark and funny. I'm not quite so sure about their cover of Lou Reed's Satellite Of Love, although it's a darn sight better than U2's excruciating version.
 
After another near-decade break from music, Eddie re-emerged last July with debut solo album, Pleasure, Joy And Happiness. The promo describes it as "a thoughtfully considered album of quiet, confident R&B: it doesn't jump out at you, but rather gets in you". Having listened to it for the first time whilst writing this post, that's a pretty spot on description. Described elsewhere as "celestial soul music", it's heartfelt, late hours music with understated vocals that mark out that this is a man who has lost, lived and grown in the 30 years since Duophonic. John Carroll Kirby is a sympathetic producer, letting the music underpin and not overwhelm Chacon's vocals. It's also a refreshingly brisk album: 8 songs in under 30 minutes, with no filler to pad out a 'normal' vinyl or CD album length.
 
There are a couple of interviews with Eddie from September 2020 that provide further background and insight into the album and the songs that inspired it, with Aquarium Drunkard and Andrew Male in The Guardian. You can buy Pleasure, Joy And Happiness on Eddie's Bandcamp page;  you will need to trawl other channels to get hold of a physical copy.

This is why I love music so much. A random shuffle to an old song can take you to somewhere new and surprising.