When Simply Red’s “Holding Back the Years” topped the charts here in Toronto I remember a buddy asking ‘Is that Carly Simon?’ No, it was red-head Mick Hucknall. The band’s first lp was Picture Book (1985), which at that time I had as cassette. I have that & Men and Women (1987), A New Flame (1989), Stars (1991) in my collection.
The band was good, if unexceptional, the original songs were good, if unexceptional, the cover songs ditto. It was Hucknall’s voice that sold the work. The music progressed to a more commercial, slick sound & by Stars I lost interest – verging on bland, adult contemporary as opposed to top ten.
Sinclair: Que justice soit faite! (1993), Au mépris du danger (1995): French fun with amazing engineering, & a great singer. Production was done by members of French techno wizards Cassius (whose cds I love). The music is funky, sexy & danceable with songs about love, politics & dancing. I bought these in Montreal when I used to visit in the mid 90’s as a part of learning French. I never really learned much except that lyrics are often irrelevant to enjoyment.
I made a cassette copy of of a friend’s Looking Glass (1987) lp by Siouxsie and the Banshees which I eventually downloaded as mp3. On it the band covers songs by Roxy Music, The Doors etc. They move from their Goth sound to a more alternative rock sensibility & I liked the song they chose to interpret. I’ve heard other lps but they didn’t grab me. I did eventually add Gold: a 2 cd compilation of their ‘hits’ & alternate takes.
I have Professor Longhair (1918-1980): Mardi Gras in New Orleans, another of the Essential Blue Archive compilation releases. His piano style is described as a mambo-rhumba boogie thing. A legendary performer I felt I should have in my collection. Fun stuff & sound quality is good.
Next on the shelf is this mp3 cd collection of 80’s Brit pop groups that made some headway into the mainstream & others that remained fringe alternative. Starting with The Psychedelic Furs: Forever Now (1980), Mirror Moves (1984), Midnight to Midnight (1987), Made of Rain (2020). Thanks to a couple of movie soundtracks the Furs went from almost-known to sensations. Slightly Goth-emo songs that progress into major pop hits. Similar to The Cure but not as shoe-gazer our as quirky. Songs of loneliness, love, & even some with political intent. I enjoy the production work. I am enough of a fan to have picked up their ‘reunion’ lp Made of Rain – their first recording in a couple of decades which pretty much picks up where they left off.
More 80’s with the Buggles: Age of Plastic (1980) , Adventures In Modern Recording (1981) – one of the first of many products by Trevor Horn – with excellent hooky pop songs, brilliant engineering & of course the unforgettable Video Killed. Both this lps I had at one time as cassettes. The list of acts Horn produced is endless & includes Art of Noise, Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
Another 80’s combo is Cabaret Voltaire: Red Mecca (1981) – they defined moody Goth with their dense keyboards & mystic lyrics. Electronica & easy to absorb – if you like slightly experimental emo this is a band for you.
One of my favorite 80’s bands was Talk Talk. In this mp3 collection I have The Colour of Spring (1986), Spirit of Eden (1988) – the band started electronic pop but moved away from that with a dense eclectic that moved into what I call chamber rock. Music that wasn’t based on beat-per-minute or radio sensibility. Spirit of Eden is beautiful.
Lastly a real rock group who survived the 80’s The Pretenders’ Packed! (1991) with the expected tough sound. Perhaps not a best-seller but proof that solid, non-emo groups were still alive & well. Hynde’s vocal as compelling, the songs are good if not inspired & there is a great cover of Hendrix’s “May This Be Love” that is worth tracking down.
Your home for exploring philosophy with an emphasis on Buddhism and Stoicism. Part of this exploration will be taking on some of the more important issues that we are facing and providing alternatives to this Orwellian society.