It’s a funny ol’ world. The very night after I’d written a post in praise of seeking out the new in music and warned against the siren call of Nostalgia, I heard a song that beckoned irresistibly from my 80s youth.
It was at country rock musician Chris Altmann’s farewell gig. Guest singers took turns to serve up one perfectly cooked cover after another to the capacity crowd. Barb Waters sang The Stems ‘At First Sight’.
I didn’t immediately place it. I had to pay the price of the sanctimonious tone of my last blog post by having the melody stuck in my head for days before I finally succumbed and Googled the opening words. Then Nostalgia grabbed me by the throat and pulled me into its vortex.
I spent a rainy Sunday morning happily traipsing down the byways of 80s Australian rock, picking out chords on guitar. Is it just the opiate of lost youth, or do these songs sound even better than they did when I was a teenager?
So for all those who are old enough to have loved these songs in the 80s, enjoy. For those who are too young to have heard these before, by all means feel free to tell me I’m wrong.
I listened to ‘At First Sight’, then the thoroughly phenomenal 60s garage sound of The Stems ‘Tears Me In Two’. That reminded me of one of my favourite songs to throw myself around to back in the day – another 60s-inspired tune – The Lime Spiders’ oh-so-wrong-but-so-right ‘Slave Girl’.You can hear it at this blog.
I listened to Died Pretty’s ‘Blue Sky Day’ and thought how perfect a song it is for a long car trip. I listened to a couple of songs by the Hoodoo Gurus and The Saints (‘Ghost Ships’). I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting Ed Kuepper’s ‘Also Sprach The King of Euro Disco’.
Finally, I moved across to 80s England, to what might have been the first album I bought with my own money (should I ever be asked on RockQuiz). It was ‘This Are Two Tone’ – a compilation from the record company that brought to you The Specials and other wonderful ska bands. This album included The Specials’ ‘Ghost Town’. It also included a track I’d completely forgotten about – ‘The Boiler’ by Rhoda Dakar and the The Special AKA – a precursor to Lily Allen’s Cockney storytelling style – but bleak, bleak, bleak.
The music is great, it’s an incredible piece of spoken word and vocal acting but I warn you, it’s about a rape. Ah, England. So glad I didn’t grow up there.
I can’t very well leave my trip down memory lane on that note. So here’s a song from The Saints’ Chris Bailey, from his solo record, ‘Casablanca’, a beautiful, understated record that is one of the few pieces of vinyl I’ve managed to hold onto to from that era.
So that’s the old, stay tuned for the new. But before we move on, feel free to share a link to your own nostalgia sweet spot.