Monday, 21 December 2015

Festive alternatives

Festive Alternatives


Christmas comes but once a year, but like a junkie relative who turns up to sleep on the couch, each visit seems to be a longer and more unpleasant intrusion. Having to endure Macca’s “Wonderful Christmas Time” & Mariah Carey’s “All I want For Christmas is for you to shut the f*** up” since October, it certainly puts the Christ back in Christmas every time I walk into a shop. 

Fear not vinyl lovers, for here is a feast of alternatives with not a hint of Slade or Wizard to sour the cranberry sauce.


Christmas Carols From St Paul’s Cathedral – The Choir Of St Pauls Cathedral Conducted By Dr J Dykes Bower

Whilst I’m not what you would describe as a religious person, the sound of a Choir recorded in St Paul’s Cathedral in 1967 is so beautiful as to be a spiritual experience in itself, the music masterfully invokes the festive season without the need for descending major scales or the jingling of bells. 

Scrooge & Scrooged – Original Soundtrack Recordings

Two completely different takes on one of my favourite Charles Dickins stories. The Wonderful Albert Finney musical version is a film I watch every year and is a genuinely moving and fun adaptation of the book. It features a rare moment of Alec Guinness’ vocal ability, not too dissimilar from Oliver Reed’s musical delights from Tommy. It’s not been re-issued since its release in 1970 due to contractual issues but it’s still available on the second hand market for around £5. The Bill Murray Scrooged album features some fairly good covers, the highlight being Miles Davis, Larry Carlton, David Sanborn & Paul Shaffer performing “We Three Kings Of Orient Are”.


The Beatles Christmas Album

Members of the Beatles fan club would get a flexi disc around Christmas time with various well wishes, songs and skits from the fab four. The 7 discs from 1963 to 1969 were put on a compilation in 1970 for fan club members, my version is an unofficial 2010 pressing on green vinyl. If you want an original 1970 pressing, be prepared to dig deep and watch out for counterfeits. 

Squeeze – Christmas Day

Whilst not Squeeze’s finest moment by any stretch of the imagination, for anyone who enjoyed Christmas in the seventies this will bring some memories back and a welcome diversion from Mum playing Wham’s ” Last Christmas” again.

A Charlie Brown Christmas – Vince Guarldi Trio 

For me this is the ultimate Christmas album, festive but without choking on the tinsel. Released  50 years ago in December 1965, this album on the San Francisco based Fantasy label still sounds amazing on this green vinyl re-issueGive the “Now That’s What I Call A Repetitive Christmas” CD a short vacation and enjoy this wonderful album. 

Which just leaves me to wish you all a Merry Christmas, I’ll be returning in the New Year so until then, thank you for reading. 




Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Groundbreaking Singles - The Boiler ~ Rhoda with the Special AKA

Groundbreaking Singles – The Boiler ~ Rhoda with the Special AKA


The Specials in their classic recording form lasted a brief but bright two years from 79 to 81, releasing some of the finest British pop to ever land on the turntable. Along with bands like The Clash and The Jam, The Specials were not afraid to confront and challenge their audience and released songs that tackled many issues including racism, birth control, social deprivation and drunk driving. 

Following the exit of Terry Hall, Neville Staple & Lynval Golding who went on to form the Fun Boy Three, Jerry Dammers continued with the renamed Special AKA in 1982 with a more fluid lineup similar to Paul Weller and Mick Talbot’s Style Council. Rhoda Daker who had previously been in the Two Tone signed band The Bodysnatchers and had sung on “I Can’t Stand It” from the  More Specials LP, joined on a more permanent role. The first song the Bodysnatchers had written together was the song “The Boiler” which they and Dammers  wanted to record as their first single. Label owners Chrysalis baulked at the lyrical content of the song and forced them to record the more poppy “Let’s Do Rocksteady”. The Special AKA issued The Boiler on the 23rd of January 1982 after protracted recording sessions and despite the A side getting no airplay it reached number 35, the instrumental version on the B side was the version that was used on radio. The Special AKA would continue to issue subversive singles such as “War Crimes”, “Racist Friend” and “Free Nelson Mandela” until Dammers dissolved the band in 1985. 

In the early nineties I was thumbing through a friend’s record collection and came across a Specials compilation that had “The Boiler” on it, I’ve never heard it before and I asked him what it was like. “I can’t listen to it” he said “It’s horrible; it’s brilliant but just makes me feel sick”. He refused any more information than that and naturally my interest was piqued. Shortly after this I picked up this copy of the single, listened to it and understood exactly why he had made these extraordinary remarks about a pop song. 

The BBC argue that they have never officially banned any songs, but clearly directives like this one issued in 1942 show that they had a clear policy over what was acceptable to broadcast over the airwaves during World War 2.

"We have recently adopted a policy of excluding sickly sentimentality which, particularly when sung by certain vocalists, can become nauseating and not at all in keeping with what we feel to be the need of the public in this country in the fourth year of war."

Sourced by Stanley, Bob (6 August 2008). "The music the BBC banned". The Times (London).

So various songs over the years, whilst not banned have been outside acceptable policy and either not played or put on the restricted list which meant it could not be played on general entertainment programs. Barry Maguire’s Eve Of Destruction (too political), The Who’s My Generation (offensive to stutterers), The Beatles’ Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (drugs), Split Enz’s Six Months In A Leaky Boat (Falkland’s War) The Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen (it might cause offence) & Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Relax (overtly obscene) are just a small number of censorship casualties of their times. All of these and virtually all the other records that have been banned or restricted have subsequently received radio airplay; “The Boiler” has not.

 (Further research and some wisdom from Allan Crockford has revealed that the mighty John Peel did indeed play this at least once on his show, The Bodysnatchers had already recorded an as yet unreleased version of this song on an earlier Peel Session.)

The song is without doubt the most uncomfortable and disturbing records I have ever heard, listening to it before I wrote this blog entry is only the 4th time I’ve ever played it. The song tells the story of a woman who has a low self-image and refers to herself as an old boiler, she subsequently goes on a date with a man who rapes her, the song concludes with her harrowing screams and crying. 

I believe the time for this to be played on radio is now, in a world that believes it’s acceptable to tap its feet to Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines whilst humming along to “you know you want it”, at a time where rape culture continues to thrive, “The Boiler” is a powerful antidote to a sick industry.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Happy 50th Birthday Rubber Soul and My Generation

Happy 50th Birthday Rubber Soul and My Generation

Two great albums released on this day in 1965, it must have been a great time to be a teenager.
Listening to the Rubber Soul’s original mono mix on the 2014 reissue is a real treat, if you’ve only heard the 87 mix (from which all stereo CD’s & vinyl are sourced from) you are missing out. 

Over the past several years I’ve heard people remark that the US Rubber Soul is better than the UK version. Due to the fact that Capitol were late to the Beatles party and to wring some extra cash from the US fans by putting 12 tracks on a LP (rather than 14), the US Rubber Soul had four tracks removed and replaced by two from Help (I’ve Just Seen A Face & It’s Only Love) each one respectively opening side 1 & 2. Sonics, different mixes and false starts aside (all peculiarities of the US Stereo version) this sets a very different tone for the whole album that could be appealing to the folk rock crowd. 
Here’s someone making the case for the US version

 Whilst I respect his opinion, he is completely and utterly wrong.
The loss of “What Goes On” isn’t a deal breaker, however without “Drive My Car”, “If I Needed Someone” and “Nowhere Man” this album stops sounding like one of the greatest albums of all time and might even be considered a stop gap. Whilst the US version does tick all the boxes of “folk rock” and I’m sure it’s a great stoners album, without those three key tracks it begins to sound bland. That’s not to say it still contains some of the finest Beatles songs ever written, but the strength and legacy of the Fabs albums was always their diversity and contrast. Whilst it’s fun and often educational to hear tracks out of sequence, part of the genius of these albums is the way tracks set up the next one. I would argue “I’ve just seen a face” undermines “Norwegian Wood” rather than setting it up. 

A similar though less dramatic fate occurred with the US version of My Generation, renamed “The Who sings My Generation” released by US Decca in Stereo & Mono  (and on 8 track cartridge too) with the omission of “I’m A Man” (apparently considered to risqué for the American audience), swapping “The Ox” with “Legal Matter” and closing side two with “Instant Party”. Whilst it’s difficult to make a case for what is a fine cover against a stonking good Townshend original, the UK sequencing makes it sound like a far superior album. 

Both Rubber Soul & My Generation are currently available in mono on vinyl and both these reissues are highly recommended. 

For downloaders My Generation is available in mono, there is also a stereo version that whilst is not as kick ass, it is superior to the 2002 CD reissue in that it has all the overdub parts that were on the original ( for more on this see )

Sadly digital listeners have a tougher ride with Rubber Soul, all of the CD’s & downloads are sourced from the 87 remix, which whilst it’s better than the Help remix of the same time, it’s still a pale version of the originals. The only option are the 2009 mono CD boxset (but beware as there are quite a few fakes of this about) which contains the original Mono & Stereo mixes. Although there is a rare Canadian CD issue that contains the original stereo mix.

If you want to hear the original Capitol versions on CD then you need the original Capitol Boxsets (2004 & 2006) as the current US re-issues are sourced from the 2009 re-masters so you would be better off re-sequencing  your own tracks from the comfort of a warm playlist. 

1965, what a year, I wish I’d been there.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Five Albums That Cry Out For A Vinyl Reissue

Five Albums That Cry Out For A Vinyl Reissue


Following on from my last blog entry, it’s clear that there are many other albums along with Pink Floyd’s Piper that would be a more than welcome addition to the turntable.

Here are just five:-


5 – The Pretty Things – S.F. Sorrow (Mono)

A concept album recorded at Abbey Road before anyone knew what a concept album was, those including the band members who are lucky enough to have heard both mixes prefer the mono version. The original Columbia pressing will set you back a cosy £400 plus, in 2000 Snapper Music pressed 5000 copies which occasionally trickle onto the market in the £30-£50 range. While I would never sell my soul for anything, the thought of getting a pressing of this up to the standard of the recent “Odessey & Oracle” would tempt me to rent it out at weekends. 

SF Sorrow & Parachute - in all there stereo glory


4 - Graham Gouldman – The Graham Gouldman Thing (Mono)

Graham Gouldman’s under the radar album, a fine gem of sixties pop from the writer of some of the greatest songs of the period. Originally released in the US on RCA, the stereo album has been re-issued on CD & Download, along with repro vinyl pressing that sounds like it is sourced from a digital master. Mono was very much over in the USA by 1968, so the mono version (LPM-3945) is a genuine rarity that very occasionally turns up on eBay (one was sold earlier this year for $60). Let us pray to the re-issue gods for a AAA mono release.

Pressed on a pig farm in Spain, sold at market for a handful of beans. 


 Madness – The Liberty Of Norton Folgate

Madness’ magnum opus did get a limited vinyl release in 2009, albeit with the track listing being shuffled around, presumably to fit the songs onto a single album. While I’m usually the first to moan about modern albums being on two slabs, this is one that should definitely be over two lp’s

Two great albums, one naff format.


2 – Kate Bush  Aerial

An album that did get a limited double album release back in 2005 but was snapped up very quickly, possibly by some very savvy sellers who can shift this album for anywhere around £150 a time. A high price indeed, especially if you end up with some of the distorted copies that are out there. This stunning album is just too good to be left on CD. 


1 – The Beatles – Abbey Road

Oh yes my pretties, if you think that the 2012 re-mastered vinyl is a worthy replacement for early pressings of this album then please find somewhere else to go, we don’t want your sort around here. This year’s AAA version of the Blue album gives you an idea just how good these tracks could sound if this album was given the same treatment as the 2014 mono box set. 

Abbey Road 2012 vinyl remaster - utter toilet.


There are many more albums that deserve a vinyl re-release, some that are rare and expensive, some that never had a vinyl release or that were pressed badly to start with. 

Please feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below.


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Price Of Mono ~ The Zombies Odyssey & Oracle

The Price Of Mono – The Zombies Odyssey & Oracle


Several recent discussions with people about the price of late sixties mono pressings has prompted this blog entry, along with the welcome mono re- release of The Zombies classic, Odyssey & Oracle.

A proper mono mix starts at the recording stage, for instance using different microphones on each guitar amp will help differentiate them in the final mix. I’ve been reading about mono mixing at Abbey Road studios in the sixties. Studio 2 was fitted out with two Altec monitors for most of the decade but the mono mixes were made using  the right hand speaker only. Having just recently recorded some demos I decided to see if this made a difference and boy was it easier to get a clearer more defined balance through a single monitor. 

One of the albums in question was Cream’s second album Disraeli Gears, a first pressing will set you back £50-plus for a decent copy and has a dedicated mono mix, whilst their third album Wheels Of Fire has mainly fold down mixes on the mono version. A fold down is simply taking both the left and right channels and combining them into a single channel which can lead to some of the instrumentation being sonically buried. 

The Doors first two albums have dedicated mono mixes, however if you can track one down in decent condition it’s going to burn a hole in your paypal account, fortunately both of these have been subsequently re-issued and sound phenomenal. It’s not all good news on the re-issue front though, Jimi Hendrix’s debut Are You Experienced? Sony Legacy Mono  version uses what are clearly damaged master tapes, Red House and Fire in particular sound awful. The original Track records version will set you back £60-plus for a decent version, however you will be much better off with the superior French Barclay version, early pressings are £40-plus. I have an early seventies pressing which sounds excellent that can be had from £30-plus. 

David Bowie’s debut album is an excellent example of what happens when a flop is made by subsequent super star. The Dame’s brilliant debut LP has sold for over £900 on eBay in its mono format, luckily several years ago it was re-released as a double disc set and for the first time I heard the far superior mono version, like Sgt Pepper which was also released on the same day, you could hear which version had the effort spent on it. 

Another debut from 67 is Pink Floyd’s The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, someone on discogs has a mono copy for over £4000, please do NOT buy this. A still jaw aghast sum of two to three hundred pounds is required to get a decent copy of this, along with even the seventies stereo versions going for three figure sums, add in a glut of unofficial releases quite possibly sourced from CD means that this record is crying out for a vinyl re-issue in both Stereo & Mono

So the arrival of The Zombies Odyssey & Oracle in its Mono format is a welcome alternative to paying the £300-plus for an original pressing. Recorded at Abbey Road & Olympic it was only when the mono master was given to CBS that The Zombies were informed that a stereo mix was also required. By the time the stereo and fake stereo mix were completed (the horn parts on This Will Be Our Year had been recorded directly onto the Mono master tapes) the band had split. As opposed to the rather tinny digital stereo mixes, this version sounds incredible, warm and balanced this is THE version of one of my favourite albums.

This re-issue has been half-speed mastered at Abbey Road  and in my view the finest bit of LP re-issuing since The Beatles mono box set.

An absolutely essential purchase. 

Addendum - I've just re-read this and realised I've used the possibly correct spelling of Odyssey, although officially this record is called Odessey & Oracle. I'm not sure why this spelling was used but hey, you know what I mean...


Monday, 2 November 2015

The Who ~ Track Record Box Set

The Who – Track Singles Boxset

Part Three of the Who’s UK singles box sets (the final Polydor is due for release in May 2016) is the weightiest tome so far with fourteen singles and an EP, covering the Who’s single releases from 1967 to 1973. 

I’ve seen some fresh backlash on this latest set, the main ones being “The Who were an albums band”, something this box set fiercely contradicts and “I bought them all the first time around.” I certainly share the regular hollow feeling of yet another Who re-issue program, but the first two sets, Brunswick & Reaction, more than redeem themselves by way of sounding so much better than the original single pressings. However, due to some excellent sounding versions on Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy (MBBB) and The Rarities Albums one and two (R), this is going to be a tougher call. Using these aforementioned albums and the original 7” pressings it’s time so see if this 3rd half speed mastered at Abbey Road set is as essential a Who purchase as the first two sets.

Rarities 1 & 2, Meaty Beaty Big & Bouncy

It comes neatly packaged with a booklet, with some informative and surprisingly fresh track notes written by Chris Charlesworth, who must have lost count of the amount of times he’s written about some of these songs. The reproduction of the singles is fairly accurate, most issued as they were with plain white bags, the two exceptions being Won’t Get Fooled Again & the Tommy EP that has their respective reproduction sleeves. The one thing they are all missing are their teeth, this is a serrated edge that goes around the outside of the label, intended for gripping with other singles when used on an automatic turntable, unfortunately pressing plants no longer offer this. They do have their cut outs which are fairly accurate, although many of the later singles were issued without these, often referred to as solid centres. 

Original with three prong cut out & teeth.

Pictures of Lily – Wow! A veil has been lifted. The bass and drums hit you with a force missing from the original & MBBBMuch more clarity and far better than any version I’ve ever listened to. The cut out on the original pressing was a three prong, as used by the Phillips plant it was pressed at. 

Doctor Doctor – Again the best version I’ve ever heard, the drums sound like Moon is in your room.


The Last Time – This is the only single I don’t have an original 7” copy of, sometimes incorrectly identified as coming in a picture sleeve (these are actually various European versions) this plain bagged re-issue lacks the vibrancy of the version on Rarities. 

Under My Thumb – This has turned up on CD several times with a work in progress mix, this is the original version which sounds fuller and superior to the one on Rarities.


I Can See For Miles – This is not the original UK mix version of the single. This is a huge disappointment as the original is so good as 7”mix, this one is based on the album version which is in itself a thoroughly fantastic mix and has been used on MBBB and every compilation since. Whether this is due to the original master not being available or just brain fade, it’s a major minus on this set.

Someone’s Coming  Like “Doctor Doctor”, Entwistle’s writing credit is spelled wrong again as per the original single pressings. This sounds much better than the original press and more rounded than the Rarities version. 


Dogs – Unlike the Stones, The Who never seemed to repeat themselves. This hilarious song with a stunning coda sounds so much warmer than the original but very similar to the excellent sounding one on Rarities. 

Call Me Lightning – Whilst this does sound superior to the original & Rarities versions, I have a US Decca single version that wipes the floor with all of them.


Magic Bus – Surprisingly similar to the original UK pressing, although the stereo longer version on MBBB sounds better. I call that one a tie.

Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde – The best sounding version of this song I’ve ever heard. Miles better than the ordinal single version and far more presence than the Rarities version. This is the original UK mix rather than the “work in progress” US one. 


Pinball Wizard – It’s easy to forget just how good this song is, the guitars and voices are stunning on this re-issue, be prepared to jump out of your seat when you hear the electric guitar come in. Much better than the original single. 

Dogs Part 2 – For whatever reason I’ve got a Pinball Wizard label on this B side. If it’s a one off then it’s a unique collector’s item. If they are all like it it’s an embarrassing shambles. Sonically it has more bass clarity and sounds better than any other version.


The Seeker – Better than the original with more clarity than the version on Rarities, slightly superior to the version on MBBB.

Here For More – Better than the original but the version on Rarities gets the winners rosette. 


Summertime Blues – This version is nowhere near as good as the original release. Another victim of the “Live At Leeds” noise reduction fiasco. 

Heaven & Hell – Whilst this has more clarity than the previous versions, there is a “boxy” quality to this that smells of the same noise reduction heavy handedness that plagued the aforementioned Live At Leeds.


See Me Feel Me 

Overture – Both sound so much better than the original withdrawn single and comparable to the versions on the recent Tommy LP re-issue. 


Tommy E.P.

Overture / Christmas

I’m Free / See Me, Feel Me Originally issued as a 33rpm EP,this runs at 45rpm contradictory to all the disc labels that are reproduced. Whilst I appreciate keeping the EP’s cover art intact, with Universal emblazed upon the disc labels the correct speed would have been useful, or even a note in the booklet.


As always with EP’s there is a compromise in sound but these are pretty good although short of the quality on the re-issue Tommy long player.


Won’t Get Fooled Again – Whilst the single edit will always live in the long dark shadow of its album version, this is a much underrated single version all resplendent with its picture sleeve; indeed it is the first UK Who single to have one. The repro sleeve is cardboard though, which has a tendency to bow outwards letting the dust in, the original had a thick paper sleeve that clung to the record. I also prefer the sound of the original single release; it has much more presence and dynamics over the re-issue.

Don’t Know Myself  Very similar to the original release. Another draw.


Let’s See Action – To all those who view the 70’s Who as an albums band, the following three single only releases (at the time) show the bands commitment to 45rpm. This re-issue has more clarity than the original and certainly sounds more zesty than the rarities version. 

When I Was A Boy – For a songwriter in his late twenties, this is a fine bit of worldly wise song writing from John, who despite still having his name spelt wrong in the credits is able to deliver this finely crafted lyric with a suitably yearning the years melody. This is the best sounding version I’ve ever heard.


Join Together – Better than the original but the Rarities version is by far the best one I’ve ever heard.

Baby Don’t Do It – Better than the original, very similar to Rarities, perhaps this re-issue beats it by a nose.


Relay – Often left out of compilations, this funky Who song sounds as good as I’ve ever heard it.

Waspman – Miles better than the orginal & Rarities.

5:15 - above re-issue - below original. 

5:15 – This is NOT the same mix as the orginal 7” UK release, however this mix does sound a lot better with Rogers vocal not buried deep down a well. In terms of label reproduction this is an interesting one. The orginal 1973 disc had a plastic injection label that would soon become the standard for the remainder of the seventies and eighties. By the nineties the last record plant that used this process closed and it is now not possible to make these types of label. This version uses a silver paper label with a cut out. 

Water – Time to close off this Track Marathon with one of my favourite Who B sides, I’m pleased to report that this is one of the best versions of the song I’ve heard.



So is this box set, like it’s forbearers an essential Who purchase?

I’m going to say it is essential, but only by the skin of its teeth. 

With a couple of exceptions these singles sound superior to the orginal 7” 45’s, these are clean copies of songs that for the most part are not included or differ from the vinyl LP versions. 

However, there are some silly lapses of quality control and a major selling point to Who fans – not including the orginal UK single mix of “I Can See For Miles” is a huge disappointment that could blow the deal for many.

These box sets were never intended for the casual or digital fan, they are however an essential part of The Who’s discography. If it seems a lot cash just to get hold of some B sides on vinyl you may be better trying to pick up clean / mint copies of The Who’s rarities albums. At around £20 for each one these are the best budget alternative.

Singles were a crucial part of the Who’s legacy, and without spending hundreds on mint singles that even then, wont sound as good as these (with the above noted exceptions) this box set’s value starts to make more sense. If you are serious about The Who on vinyl, despite its faults you will want and enjoy this great collection.


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

B Sides - The Undertones ~ All Wrapped Up

B Sides – The Undertones ~ All Wrapped Up


If there is one thing we have truly lost in this digital age, it’s a dam good B side. Artists can make great hit songs and produce great albums, but the very finest are notable for the quality of the 7 inch flip side. Sometimes referred to as B/W (backed with) & C/W (combined with) the song on the opposite side of a single was sometimes viewed as a throwaway or even as an opportunity for the producer to make some extra cashShel Talmy happily took a writers credit for the B side (Bald Headed Woman) of The Who’s debut, I Can’t Explain. It was often seen as a safe way to take a chance with something, The Beatles would never have released “She’s A Woman” (the b side to I Feel Fine) as a single, it’s backbeat guitar and overdriven bass would be too earthy for the pop charts of 64 and someone may have noticed the mild drug references in the spotlight of it being a hit. However, many people at the time including the BBC’s starchy Brian Matthew spoke of how they preferred it to I Feel Fine

In the seventies Boney M returned to the number one spot with the other side of the chart topping Rivers Of Babylon (Brown Girl In The Ring)The Streetband had a hit with the b side “Toast” thanks to heavy airplay from Kenny Everett and Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” was originally a b side. As an antidote to the double A side first used by Elvis in 1956 (Hound Dog / Don’t Be Cruel) Stiff records released a Double B side by Tyla Gang in 1976. 

While many bands have released compilations of singles with B sides, often mixed chronologically, one of my favourites is “All Wrapped Up” by The Undertones; a double LP that neatly puts the A sides on the first disc and the B’s on the second. Between 1978 and 1983 The Undertones released 13 singles, each one a great slice of pop in their own right. The B side to “Jimmy Jimmy is a song called “Mars Bars” which gained the rare honour of having its lyrics printed in Smash Hitsa celebration of the caramel chocolate bar that would be a worthy addition to The Who’s Sell Out album. For a band who worshipped the most astute song writing brevity; “Here Comes The Summer” weighs in at just over a minute and a half, the b side “She Can Only Say No” lasts just fifty seconds including the final remarks “C90 stuff there”, a sarcastic reference to cassette tapes than had 45 minute playing times each side. Their biggest hit “My Perfect Cousin” is backed with an even briefer “I Don’t Wanna See You Again” which lasts just 43 seconds. Many including myself lament about how hard it is to believe that the standard of songs aren’t reflected in their chart positions and certainly the number 18 position reached by one of my favourite singles “It’s Going To Happen” is as good an example of any on the baffling behaviour of the record buying public. During the eighties an annoying practice seemed to become more common, album tracks on the B side. The flip of “Beautiful Friend” however contains a vastly superior version of “Life’s Too Easy” to the one on The Undertones third long player “Positive Touch”. The final single “Chain Of Love” failed to chart, it’s B side is a brilliantly whimsy song which refrains “You’re Better Off Being Dead”. Whilst Undertones were indeed dead shortly after this single was released, they reformed without Feargal Sharkey in 1999 and are still currently touring with Paul McLoone on vocals. 

Like Elvis Costello’s “Ten Bloody Mary’s & Ten How’s Your Fathers” this second disc of “All Wrapped Up” always sounded to me like a great album rather than a collection of b sides, and like The Beatles, The Jam & Oasis (to name just 3 off the top of my head) when the B sides are this good you know the band is great. 


The Galileo 7 will be supporting The Undertones at The Britannia Theatre in Chatham, Kent on Friday 30th October

For more details visit -