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This Heat’s “Out of Cold Storage” was my favourite box set from last year. Before its arrival it was impossible to obtain any of This Heat’s recorded output for a reasonable price. A copy of “Deceit” on cd would probably set you back almost £50, which is roughly the cost of the box set from the Recommended website! This was a feast compared to the scraps I’d got my hands on before its release.

Out Of Cold Storage

When it arrived I was slightly confused as I had obtained a few stray mp3s of songs over the years that weren’t included on the set and I now had no idea where they were taken from. It turns out the tracks I had downloaded were incorrectly labelled as This Heat when they were in fact the work of Flaming Tunes, a collaboration between Gareth Williams (from This Heat) & Mary Currie. They released one album together on cassette which seems to be getting a reissue soon (according to the Flaming Tunes Myspace page). I really hope it does as the tracks I have heard suggest that it stands alongside anything This Heat released.

Beguiling The Hours

Beguiling the Hours is probably the highlight from what I’ve heard from the cassette. It is the sort of tune that would sit comfortably alongside something from Brian Eno’s “Another Green World” or Arthur Russell’s “Another Thought” on a mixtape.

Here is the video for another one of the standouts, “Breast Stroke.”

This is incredible work that appears to have been overlooked over the years, possibly because of the format it was released on.

RIP Gareth.

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Saturday Night Fever could be cited as the reason why disco was burnt at the stake. After the film and soundtrack arrived, a scene that had slowly been moving into the mainstream was now catapulted into the spotlight. Record labels and artists realised that this was a chance to cash in and reinvigorate some dying careers in the process. Most of these attempts only compounded the problem and as a result disco went from briefly being the dominant force on radio to being a despised genre.

I’d like to share a couple of the buried gems that were created under these circumstances.

The Osmonds – I, I, I

The first one is an unlikely disco attempt by The Osmonds. Unlikely because it is a dark disco classic. The 12” of this has recently been fetching silly money on Ebay due to renewed interest from people like DJ Harvey and was featured on Radio Slave’s Creatures of the Night mix on Eskimo.

Instead of aiming for over the top cheese The Osmonds (with the help of Maurice Gibb and Steve Klein) manage to keep it very subtle. The overall vibe is a very convincing mix of dark disco and rock. Ignore it at your peril!

There is a slightly re-edited 12” available here which is backed with the awesome “Like An Eagle” by Dennis Parker.

The Walker Brothers – Nite Flights

Yes, you read correctly, even The Walker Brothers had a go! This sits comfortably alongside The Osmonds’ “I,I,I” as they both make good use of rousing strings. Lyrically, this is a long way from “Stayin’ Alive”, making use of very oblique phrases much the same as Scott Walker’s recent output.

“glass traps open and close on nite flights
broken necks
feather weights press- the walls
be my love
we will be GODS on nite flights
with only one promise
only one way to FALL”

Chicago – Street Player (Buy)

“Street Player” was reviled when it was released by Chicago’s fans and the album is still held in low esteem by critics. Luckily this song was rescued by a large sample in “The Bomb!” by The Bucketheads and will be instantly familiar due to its success. Disco was consigned to the waste bin in the late 70s and it was only through house that it was able to have its revenge.

Most people know Bill Cosby from The Cosby Show and his rather goofy sense of humour but few know of the other side of the Cos.

When he wasn’t busy performing stand up, making controversial statements about Black America or being impersonated by Eddie Murphy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7nNLotYdOE), he sometimes made some incredibly deep jazz.

Bill Cosby – Martin’s Funeral

(from Badfoot Brown & the Bunions Bradford Funeral Marching Band)

This track is rumoured to have been written the day after Martin Luther King, Jr’s funeral. Cosby had attended and spent time with King’s children and was moved to write this song in recognition of the event.

I can listen to this song for hours on end. It’s a tune to get lost in. A swirl of heavy percussion is underpinned with a repetitive bass line and Bill’s electric piano compliments it perfectly. The mournful tone of the song conveys the sense of grief that Cosby must have felt on this terrible occasion. If you haven’t heard it before then prepare to be overwhelmed.

Bill Cosby

 

 

Sometimes I don’t think too much about a song’s lyrical content before sticking it on a cd for a friend. This has got me in trouble a few times over the years and I thought, seeing as this is my first post, I’d get it out of the way early on!

Recently I made a compilation for a few people which covered a lot of styles. I had picked tunes that I had been listening to a lot recently and mixed in a few old favourites. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of including the somewhat lyrically questionable “I Bloodbrother Be (£4,000 Love Letter)” by The Shockheaded Peters. This is an incredible tune that is extremely catchy and will soon having you singing along to its refrain of “Nothing from our loins sweetie, will ever see the light of day.” This paean to man love had people asking a few questions about my sexual preferences. I see that Mr Weatherall has included it in his most recent mix cd. I wonder if he will get the same response!

Before Pete Burn’s success with Dead or Alive and his constant appearances on reality television shows he released one single with Nightmares In Wax called “Birth of a Nation.” Over a relentless beat Pete tells a dark tale about his preference for “big filthy muscle boys on motorbikes.” At one point the song breaks into KC and the Sunshine band’s “That’s the Way (I Like It)” and you’ll never be able to listen to it again in the same light.

I am going to finish my trilogy of trash talk with “Castro Boy” by Danny Boy & The Serious Party Gods. This has a very different tone from the previous two tracks and is quite possibly one of the campest songs I have ever heard! It’s a pretty insane reworking of Frank Zappa’s “Valley Girl” and has a tune that will stick in your head forever.

Please remember not to judge a book by its camp Frank Zappa cover.