Wednesday, 16 April 2008


Hmm. I was going to post a few things this week, but life and work has gotten in the way. Meanwhile, I'm pretty much praying for warmer weather, for sunshine and those long summer evenings. If only so I can go to the pub and not worry about having the standing outside to indulge in my bad habit. The smoking ban has really put me off the pub. Nipping to the pub on the way home for a pint and a cig was one of those little luxuries that I really miss.

So as an offering to the Sun God, here are a couple of tunes that I think should have been big hits in the early 80s that simply glow with sunshine.

A Craze - Wearing Your Jumper (long version)

I loved this tune. A Craze, for those not in the know, were on Paul Weller's Respond Record label back in the early 80s. They wrote 'Give It Some Emotion' which was a decent sized hit for label-mate Tracie Young. There are only a handful of songs in existence but they're all pretty damn good. Fans of Saint Etienne might find them a little..familiar. Certainly there were a lot of similarities between the two, not least of which was Lucy Barron and Sarah Cracknell's voices. This track in particular just feels so summery to me. I love the vocals, the restrained but extremely sexy breathiness of it and the lyrics. Mmm. (Keyboards by a certain Mick Talbot as well, and again they're lovely and restrained.) Go to for some more stuff by Chris Free , the guitarist, and a lovely little demo of an unreleased A Craze tune. (Plus a picture of the lovely Lucy Barron, who should have been a huge star. Wonder what happened to her?)

Friends Again - Sunkissed

Friends Again were another early 80s band that should have been bigger. Featuring Chris Thompson (later of The Bathers) and James Grant (later of Love And Money and solo career), they were along similar lines to Aztec Camera and Orange Juice. Chris' vocals were incredibly Bowie influenced, and some of the songs owed more to Steely Dan, but on the whole it was jangle-pop with that early 80s funk leaning. Sunkissed was a single in 1983, and one which I never owned until last year. But I never forgot it! This version is from a Japanese CD of their only album Trapped And Unwrapped. I have another version which is slightly different, in that it has more electric guitars on it. If anybody can shed some light on the reason for the difference I'd be grateful!

Come on sunshine!


dickvandyke said...

Thanks Simon. You avoided Tuesday Sunshine!

Remember the phase in and around
'83/84 when everybody wore jumpers? Not yer golfing kind, but woolly polo-necked ski jumpers with big patterns. Lots of purple and blue. Tracie epitomises that time as does 'Wearing Your Jumper'.

Here comes the summer ... eventually.

i! said...

friends again must be the essence of spring, next to the siddeleys!

Clair said...

I *heart* that Friends Again album so very much and I've been listening to Old Flame over and over again today!

Thanks for the link, BTW!

Simon said...

No probs, your blog's a good un.

Thanks for the comments all!

dvd, how could I forget those jumpers? I always associate those with Lady Di haircuts. On blokes...

JC said...


The other version is the earlier single, released about 9 months before the LP was recorded.

Trapped and Unwrapped also contains a different version of the debut single Honey At The Core.

Both earlier versions are better representations of the band rather than the overly-produced stuff on the LP.

Can I just say in passing that I'm of a vintage that I was able see Friends Again something like 10 times in the 2 or so years they were together....

Simon said...

Ah, that sorts that out. The album is pretty slick, although I'm very fond of it; while I never got hold of it until last year, I knew many of the songs.

Thanks for that!

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ally. said...

that a craze things lovely and new to my dainty ears - i'd gone right off weller around then and avoided all that respond thing. i wish i hadn't now.
pubs without smoke are still an abomination even after i gave up (gawd i miss fags) buut even then i'll always take inside a dingy boozer that a sunny pavement.

Simon said...

It is a gorgeous tune.

I'd love to be able to sit inside a smoky dingy pub; even beer gardens aren't for me. You might as well go to the off license and then the park if you're going to do that. Much nicer!

Pubs really smell bad without cigarettes, has anybody else noticed that?

dickvandyke said...

That unique all pervading stale urine and Tom Tit stench marching from the Gents before seeping into your ale and Ready Salted.
And body odour! Why do most men in an enclosed space, smell of rank sweaty hairy cheese-dipped skunks? (Also see Ally's latest post).

Simon said...

That's the smell!