It’s a belated Happy 38th Anniversary to Sparkle In The Rain. The anniversary was actually yesterday and there was celebration at Casa Read by way of this beauty getting a play on the old turntable.
A favourite track? Well, during yesterday’s airing of the album, Waterfront was sounding particularly good. And it was one of the first songs that I remember clearly sticking out at me, making me aware of this “Simple Minds” band that was around.
But…having said all that, I still get flabbergasted by the majestic sound and “OMG WTF is that?“ time signature to White Hot Day. Enjoy!
Yesterday was the anniversary of the release of Walk Between Worlds. It’s been four years now! Where the fuck did four years go?! Bejaysus! Simple Minds fans back in the early days must have felt ssooo spoiled – an album coming out EVERY YEAR! TWICE A YEAR in 1979 (Life In A Day and Real To Real Cacophony) and 1981 (Sons And Fascination and Sister Feelings Call). Not to mention all the touring that went on in between. Holy fuckaroli!
At this point in time four years ago, I was recouping from a whirlwind visit to Glasgow to be at the HMV in Argyle Street for the album signing. Us fans were all lined up early. I was maybe third or fourth in the queue. That’s the WRONG place to be for an event like that. I soon learned – the rookie that I am – when it comes to signing events, you want to be towards the back. More time is afforded to you then when you get to the front. Instead of what happens to those at the front of the queue, which is to be hurried along.
As we are stood there waiting inside the store, Jim and Charlie enter the room from my right side. Jim sees me in the queue and says hello to me. I immediately want the ground to just envelop me whole. I was standing their with my OH and with Alison Carroll. I’m in my heavy raincoat. Undrerneath I am, for me, “dolled up”. I am a complete nervous wreck. I can remember both my OH and Alison saying to me “do you want to take your jacket off?” “Nah, it’s fine.” I didn’t want to make a fuss or cause a scene. All I could see in my head was the commotion I’d make, handing all the stuff I was carrying over to them, taking the coat off, then getting all the other stuff handed back to me and it all just being a ruckus.
Can one be both hot AND cold at the same time? Because it was a freezing day and that was also partly why I didn’t want to take my jacket off. But I was warm in the store. I was just, as I say, a wreck. I just wanted it over with. All this stuff is racing through my head standing there as we are waiting to be passed by Jim and Charlie. “He probably thinks I am the saddest, grossest thing he has EVER seen. I look like Edith from Still Game standing there in this coat. A fucking bag lady! Look at me! With all this shit in my hands. What do I look like?! TAKE YOUR FUCKING COAT OFF! YOU IDIOT! Why did you even bother to wear this fucking dress if nobody is going to see it?! What am I going to say to him? Don’t forget to ask if they’ll sign the Virginia print!” Ya da ya da. On it went.
Do I have good memories of it? Yes and no. The bloody sherbet straws thing will forever be immortalised. Stupid. Just stupid. I wish I had some really sharp, funny thing that I did or said or whatever. But no…I’m there looking like a bag lady and throw him a bag of sweets. WHAT ON EARTH WAS I THINKING? Socially inept to the highest degree. I couldn’t have been any less cool if I tried.
Anyway, the retelling of that nightmare was fun!
I guess that is why maybe he didn’t check with me on how to spell my name? Either he thought “near enough will be good enough” or he believed he could remember it. Or…he genuinely thought that’s how it’s spelt. Or, that is how Larelle looks when he writes it? Nah – because he has spelt it out clearly on the Hunter And The Hunted piece. He probably was just sparing me the hell of tripping over my own name to spell it out.
ANYWAY – enough mental scars of that day. (And I am willingly putting myself through MORE meet and greets!? How?!)
Since then, there really has only been two official Simple Minds releases – the 40: The Best of 1979-2019 album which saw the release of For One Night Only, and then just over two weeks ago with the release of Act Of Love. There have been a couple of side projects. A release of a symphonic version of Alive and Kicking in 2019, as well as Trevor Horn’s Reimagines The Eighties album in which Jim, Charlie and Mick MacNeil collaborated with Trevor for a recording of Brothers In Arms.
Other than those lean morsels, it’s been slim pickings. And it’s been a long wait from October, 2019 to January, 2022.
In Jim’s recent interview with Mark Millar of XS Noize, he alluded to the idea that there is so much new material that has been recorded, we COULD see a double album!! Sons/Sister for the 21st Century? Dare we even dream it?!
Also with that, he was being very pragmatic about even hinting at a release date of new material. So many factors in the mix. Least of all the state of the production of vinyl records right now.
We need to be honest with ourselves with the future viability of the production of vinyl. It’s not a sustainable thing. It’s not a clean process and not something that as environmentally conscious people we really should be reverting back to. Nostalgic ideals can definitely have negative effects. CD production is probably only nominally cleaner. As wonderful that the experience of listening to things on a physical format is – we really need to weigh up whether it is TRULY worth it. Would you prefer to wait another 12-18 months to hear new Simple Minds music for the sake of having it on CD or vinyl?
Digipaks were great ideas. And there is no reason why that can’t be done again. I think Simple Minds were pioneers when it came to that kind of thinking. To be able to go to a gig and then at the end of the night, leave the venue with a SD card with a recording of the gig on it? Fucking brilliant! Why did they stop doing that, I wonder?
Why not Simple Minds be the pioneers AGAIN!? Jim stick with his “fuck nostalgia” line of thinking and ditch the physical format like they have done with Act Of Love? Continue with that. Please!
I know it’s tough, people! But, honestly, when you think about it, how many of you actually sit and play your vinyl records every day? I bet that the majority of you still don’t even have a turntable. We can have everything but! There can still be lovely presentations of the thing. Something that arrives in a 7” or 12” presentation package? Take a look at these examples below. Lovely little presentation boxes. That one of the Greatest Hits+ Live, with that military pilot statue figure on the cover of Empires And Dance then used as a colourful shaped USB stick is just INSPIRED! Even if what we got wasn’t anything at all physical when it comes to receiving the music – that it was just an access code for downloading. It could be done – and it could be presented in a wonderful way – so it still is something collectable and a wonderful keepsake. It doesn’t have to be wrapped up in the environmentally damaging nostalgia trips of owning and playing vinyl records or CDs.
Just a thought.
Back to the excitement of the thought of the new music itself. And the notion that, unlike Mr Kerr taking of the previous release of Walk Between Worlds and that being “less is more” with there only being eight tracks on the standard issue CD, Jim in his ever mercurial fashion is now talking in terms of “more is more” – and the proposal of a double album! And with him being as mercurial as he is, I am taking what he says with a pinch of salt. It is just supposition on his part. Something to incite a potential frenzy amongst the fandom.
By the time it comes to pass. If we will be asked to wait about for physical format releases, wait for the end of this tour, etc, etc, it’ll by then be nearing five years and another Olympic length wait.
We’ll see. We can but see.
Finally, Happy Anniversary for yesterday, Walk Between Worlds.
This is still my favourite track from the whole Walk Between Worlds recording. Not filler!
Released in May, 1981 – while the band are still busily recording the Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call albums, the first of the singles of the album is rushed out.
But as “rush jobs” go, it has been a mainstay in the Simple Minds live set…well, since even BEFORE it was recorded in the studio and released as a single.
Well, so the Dream Giver site says but when I look at setlists from the March tour I see Sweat In Bullet on the setlist and not The American. Also there is a mention on the page about the March ‘81 tour that Careful In Career and Love Song had been written earlier in the year and already getting live airings. Which makes The American an odd choice for a first release single. Why not Sweat In Bullet or Love Song? I guess the desire to give a thirsty public something completely fresh and new won out (though you’d have thought only the small-ish contingent of die hard Minds fans would be the only ones familiar with the new tracks from the March setlist?).
Anyway, I suppose I’m splitting hairs. The point remains that the single is braw (“very good” for the non Scots reading this). And if only Simple Minds would give their still incredibly thirsty fanbase new material like this these days – and this quickly! No such luck. It’s all such a corporatocracy now. Music as “commodity”. No. We release singles as one new song tagged on to a “best of” album. Yet ANOTHER “best of” album. Sorry, but, yeah. I never like to criticise the band much but, one “new” song attached to a “best of” album, and a whole tour based around that?! Well, in retrospect, maybe a pandemic was just what this band needed to get a bomb up its arse and think about just WHAT their fanbase wants or DESERVES.
I’m sure Jim will not be best pleased with what I have written just above. But then again, he probably doesn’t give two shits, which is how things have felt this past year in the Simple Minds fandom, to be honest. YES! He keeps talking about new material and a new album, but then it gets handed over to record company fucking bureaucratic red tape shit. FUCK! JUST GIVE US SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO BEYOND PROMISES! JESUS CHRIST!
Hey ho. I guess the Minds story will come to an end soon enough anyway, so why does it matter?
ANYWAY! The American! Let’s celebrate The American. The rush job of a single that still has the fanbase singing their lungs out to this day. I can’t be begrudging ANOTHER “hits” tour when I have so much love for songs like The American now, can I? It has appeared on many a tour over the years, with short rests during the Street Fighting Years and Real Life tours and just the odd absence from there.
There is a demo version of the song that got a release on the 2004 mega compilation, Silver Box. It’s all pretty much there. The final studio release was refined and honed.
I find the 12” extended version of the song much better than the album version. The album version is great too, just…a bit short. Still, I guess everything that appeared on Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call was pushing for space. So much so that the LEAD single from the sessions doesn’t even get put on the lead album but on its twinned “sister extra”.
The 12” also gets a highlight on the wonderful Themes sets – on Volume 1 of the releases. As well as that, in the late nineties, there is an “Interference Mix” of the song released. It remains a solid favourite of mine of the Simple Minds remixes that have been produced.
The earliest live appearance I can find on a bootleg is at the Futurama 3 gig at Bingley Hall in Stafford on Sept. 6th, 1981. The infamous one where Jim is “as crook as Rookwood”, as we say in Oz (ie: feeling very unwell). It’s audible, to the point where it sounds to me that Jim sings “here comes the meds” during the second run of the “chorus”. There is a lot of dead air where he normally would be singing. And Derek gives the sign off at the end of the song for the end of the gig. I guess Jim is off puking again by this point?
Another favourite involves “early days” footage of the band on French TV performing it live. Jim is partly clothed in my favourite combo, in his riding boots and baggy white troosers. (And in a fairly figure-hugging white t-shirt as well – his chest looks frigging awesome! OMG!) He also does some wrapping of the mic cord around his elbow and he just makes shapes and is just the sexiest thing alive! Beautiful! He’s beautiful.
But I digress!
The most “recent” (some recent to my ears anyway) versions I have really enjoyed have been the live acoustic version (not the studio version on the Acoustic album – that never really sat well with me for some reason) but also the version I heard from the Good News From The Next World tour. It was a return of the song on the setlist after an absence of some eight years. I heard a version of it from the gig at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow on 10th September, 1995. Jim actually sings all the BV lines! The “across a curved earth / Nassau club days / in collective fame / the eventful workouts” lines. I nearly lost my shit hearing it for the first time. It was late at night but inwardly I was shouting, “HE’S DOING THE LINES! HE’S DOING THE LINES!” Lol. I was ssooo happy!
In light of what I said earlier in this post, The American is one song I would be happy to keep on the setlist. It is a firm favourite of mine at gigs and one I am guaranteed to dance and sing along to. But I would be absolutely OVER THE MOON if more tracks from Sons And Fascination/Sister Feelings Call were performed. The only tracks with almost concrete affirmation to stay on the setlist are, The American, Love Song and Theme For Great Cities. The only other track I’ve had the privilege of hearing performed live in front of me from the albums is This Earth That You Walk Upon. I’d love to hear Sweat In Bullet or Sons And Fascination itself, or Seeing Out The Angel or In Trance As Mission. Anything really.
Speaking of “rush jobs” – the cover! Malcolm Garrett was given just 48 hours to come up with something for the cover of the single – his first design for Simple Minds. His time at the cover design helm for the band saw a number of iconic covers produced, the pinnacle of these, for many, being New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84). But the start of the working relationship with Assorted iMaGes the band had was through the first work of The American. The cover holds personal significance for me, given how Malcolm collected the images together and how I make my own art.
Overall, the 12” version as well as many live versions are my favourites of The American, so for this week’s Minds Music Monday, let’s say happy (almost!) 40th anniversary to the AMERI-AMERI-AMERI-AMEREE-AMERICAAAN!
It started last night with another piece of “art”…
And then there was joy in the post this morning. This man and the music he helps to make is the biggest bit of sunshine Glasgow has.
I held off buying the 40 Silver vinyl edition and then when it was being sold at a reduced price, I was never quick enough to grab a copy before it sold out. I had been watching several on eBay…biding my time. Some were being sold with some cosmetic flaws to the packaging but the price wasn’t in any way reduced so I just kept waiting…
In the end I got it for £24 with free postage and it seemed a pretty pristine copy. No cosmetic damage and still new and sealed.
As for the photos of Jim – these are ones I have been coveting for some time. Taken in April, 1982, Virginia seemed to have the most wonderful photo session with Jim in Kensington Gardens that day. I never really ask her anything about the photoshoots. One) I know she’ll never really remember much, and two) I don’t want to drive the poor woman crazy going on and on and on AND ON about Jim. 😂😂😂😂😂
She already endures so much from me as is.
Anyway, I actually better wind this post up now! There’s a Minds Music Monday post to come. Worry not!
Glasgow is ALWAYS sunny with a bit of Jim Kerr around ❤️😊
It has been a little over 10 years since Catherine Anne Davies and Bernard Butler first decided to team up with each other and work on producing music together. They quickly felt they had the makings of an album together. Little by little things came together, building on their work together when time allowed. A few years down the track with Catherine working on her on solo career as The Anchoress, and then being part of the touring band with Simple Minds and in between those things juggling with continuing work with Butler on what would become In Memory Of My Feelings. Talk about multi-tasking!
The album was all but completed for a number of years. Davies and Butler suffered knock backs. Record companies would show an interest and then inexplicably go cold on the idea. But both Catherine and Bernard knew they had a diamond here! They just needed someone else to see, feel and hear it! Enter Pete Paphides and his newly established record label, Needle Mythology. He knew the gem that was before him. And so, with one last little hiccup along the way (the test pressing of the album causing a problem which meant a one month delay from the initial release date of September 18th), Friday – at last – saw the release of In Memory Of My Feelings, on vinyl, CD and in digital format and through streaming services.
Was it worth the wait? My opinion – a resounding YES!
The Breakdown: It’s beautiful melancholia. Catherine has a knack for that. Its sparse chords and mirrored vocal harmonies exude fear and regret but…there is light. The best melancholic songs always bring a hope with them. There is hope. It ends in hope. There is love. Strength. And the offering of courage.
Ten Good Reasons: It has been my earwarm all day! There is sass and sensuality and sultriness. Relationships when they hit the rocks and flatline. Do we push on? Is there any sense in doing so? That’s what I hear in this song. Again, impeccable harmonies and fabulous guitar work from Butler. The final 30 seconds of the song is just…perfection. That repetition of “what a mess we’re in” and then the ending piano chords. Geez…I know that is something. Or is a nod to something familiar but I can’t put my finger on it! (Catherine might tell me if she sees this?)
Sabotage (Looks So Easy): Rocking. Just – pow – straight in! Intelligent lyrics. Just punchy and ballsy. Again full of sass and attitude. We’re not gonna take deceit lying down.
In Memory Of My Feelings: It’s like three songs in one! What a break up song! Just, the musical weaving and blending, ducking and diving. The harmonies! My god, the harmonies on this album are flawless! Delivery on the lyrics “because you can’t take it back / you’ve done it now / and that is that” during the bridge breaks (right term?) are just beautiful. This could be my favourite track on the album. It just has such layers to it. And the dark and light of it. It interplays with mood and colour. Light and shade. It’s fabulous!
I Know: Or is THIS my favourite track? THE HARMONIES! I want to die! And with Butler’s guitar riding it all underneath…geez! It really is a beauty this one. Tenderness. Such tenderness to it! A love that is blossoming yet already faltering? Everything is all tentative. It’s beautiful, this. Just really beautiful.
Judas: LET’S ROCK! Just to dry up those tears shed from the beauty of the previous track. It’s a rollercoaster, this album! A rollercoaster of gems! Just absorb the sensuality and sultriness of this one. And just eat up that jangling guitar. Sell it to me, brother! (I don’t know what I’m saying anymore. Lol)
No More Tears To Cry: It’s almost a gospel tune. What fabulous lines “here in my mouth / here in my heart / is the place where the hunger starts”. And fabulous guitar work for BB. Esp. on this track. His guitar work is strongest on this. Great middle solo. Oh, it’s SSOOO good!
The Waiting Game: I don’t usually hear much of Manic Street Preachers influence on Catherine, but I hear it really strongly on this track. Abandonment? It’s the worst! It’s the daisy petal game, this song. “He loves me. He loves me not.” We’ve all done it, even if just metaphorically most times…picking them petals off the daisy. Life is a waiting game…for buses, trains, planes, people to tell you they love you and want to be with you. This song is catchy AF.
The Patron Saint Of The Last Cause: When you don’t feel you are worthy of anyone’s attention or interest or kindness. Melancholic again, but delivered to sound lighthearted. “Hey, I’m a fuck up. Don’t be bothering yourself with me” to an upbeat tune.
F.O.H.: Again, those bloody harmonies. Hell! And then…
To be honest…this is the only track I am kinda grappling with. I don’t know what to make of it still. I am not saying I don’t like it. I just don’t find it so easy to express how I feel about it/what I’m getting from it. The jury’s out a little…but that’s okay. If we say this is one only song I am really not gelling with that well with then, that gives this album a massive 9/10!
The Bonus tracks:
Live To Tell is a stellar version of the Madonna original. Much more emotional to me. Catherine’s vocal performance utterly perfect. Lovely space left on the track too. Excellently executed. Better than the original.
The Patron Saint Of The Lost Cause (Harmonium Version) the air of lightheartedness on the album version is diminished somewhat by the barebones harmonium sound. It isn’t a bad thing. I really like both versions.
Why this album was such a long push to get to be released is truly perplexing having listened to it several times now. The rejecting record company’s loss and Needle Mythology’s gain. Congratulations to Catherine and Bernard. And well done to the both of you for having the courage of your convictions to know that what you had produced here deserved to have an audience because you were both SSOO right!
In Memory Of My Feelings is a very strong album. Great lyrics, fabulous harmonies, musically “on point”. Everything just fits.
I can’t recommend this album enough!
It’s near faultless.
It has to be a 9/10!
Ever heard of Galaxians? Nope, me neither until Field Music’s David Brewis mentioned them on the Field Music Instagram account on Friday.
A new album of theirs (Galaxians) had been released and he was recommending it for your weekend listening pleasure. He said “our Leeds compadres Galaxians (he actually tagged their Insta a/c) have a new album out! Features the finest synthesizing this side of Bernie Worrell’s most-holy ghost.”
A person leaving a comment quoted that last part with a “SOLD!” at the end of their comment.
And I was really taken by the cover art. With me still in the middle of reading Lanark, there was something of the Alasdair Gray to the album cover art. So I thought “I need to give this a listen.
And for the past two nights I have done. Wow! Not just synths. Drums! E-drums. Linn drums maybe? I’m no expert. The vocals! Wow! And the style/genre – harking back to real PROPER funk, soul and r&b. I’m not sure about the Bernie Worrell reference. I am yet to see exactly what that pertains to. All I know is – THIS is a summer album! AND IT COMES FROM LEEDS?! It’s like that constant mindfuck of knowing that Average White Band hail from Dundee. Lol. You never expect these kind of sounds to spring forth from the UK.
Anyways, I am with David Brewis firmly on this one. You could do worse things on a rainy Sunday in Glasgow (or wherever else in the world you find yourself in currently) than listening to Galaxians new Chemical Reaction album.
Spotify link below…
You can buy their music from Bandcamp also. I’ve just gone and bought the album in vinyl. Bandcamp wording is a clickable link directly to their page.
The day has arrived! Sadly, my copies are in lockdown as currently Monorail are only open as an online store and I ordered my Dinked LP and CD to collect from in the store itself. I’ll be waiting some time to collect, methinks! In the meantime, there is Spotify and the digital download copy to buy.
Check Warm Digits’ social media channels and website for details.
As a consequence, today’s music aperitif is Fools Tomorrow. Strangely timely for the perplexing time we find ourselves in.