Friday, January 25, 2013
COME ON IN, THE WATER'S LOVELY
Very occasionally, I get wee pangs of guilt that I'm increasingly going back and re-posting stuff from ages ago - I feel I'm being a bit lazy.
But then I remember that not everyone who pops into TVV has been doing so since the early days and with a substantial amount of archives it's understandable that not everyone goes back all that far and so posting what is old stuff to some is likely to be new stuff to others.
Today's blast from the past was partly inspired by the fact that a posting from 2010 picked up a comment two-and-a-half years later. It was also partly inspired by the fact that the original posting picked up a very unusual and interesting comment just 48 hours after originally appearing.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me take you back to Friday 4 June 2010 with Part 27 of a series that was entitled 'It's Friday, I'm In Love with Great Scottish Singles.'
"I really do envy those of you who haven't heard today's great Scottish single before, because it really is something quite special.
I previously posted this single back in July 2007. As I said at the time, I had just picked up the track on a CD compilation entitled Ave Marina - Ten Years Of Marina Records after many years of unsuccessfully trying to track down a copy of Abandon Ship, a single originally released in 1984. Since then, I've bid a few times for the bit of vinyl on e-bay, but it always seems to go for really silly money.
Anyway, for those of you who know nothing about today's band, here's a lift from last fm:-
'April Showers were a Glaswegian indie-pop duo comprised of Jonathan Bernstein and Beatrice Colin. April Showers released their only known single "Abandon Ship" on Big Star, a subsidiary of Chrysalis, in 1984.
This was backed with another sparkling piece of pop genius "Everytime We Say Goodbye" and an instrumental of Abandon Ship; Abandon Ship Sing-A-Long-A-Wonder Mix.
Plans to release a second single on the label Operation Twilight came to nothing, and the inclusion of Abandon Ship on the compilation album "10 Years Of Marina Records" seems to be a footnote to the woefully brief story of April Showers, the perfect example of a band that has disappeared into, and whose status grows with, history.'
As I added back in July 2007, Beatrice Colin was the girlfriend of James Grant who was then part of Friends Again and later the lead in the acclaimed Love & Money. She later became a features journalist who often wrote for The Herald, a Glasgow-based broadsheet, and in recent years has become a successful novelist as can be seen here.
Abandon Ship has a magnificent production, courtesy of Anne Dudley, who was then part of The Art Of Noise and someone who worked closely alongside Trevor Horn (whose talents were the subject of this previous piece on TVV, courtesy of John Greer, one of the team of highly valued Sunday Correspondents).
It is also one of those songs that instantly takes me back to my student days, and in particular the genuinely long hot summer of 1984. It was the first summer living away from my parents. I managed somehow to pass all my exams and have no resits. In addition, as it was University accommodation, the rent had all been paid upfront and so there were no money worries. It was also a time when full-time students could sign on the dole in between terms....looking back it was the last totally and genuinely carefree period of my life. No wonder I hark back to so many sounds of that era...... "
The first comment that came in was from a reader called David who said:-
"Top stuff JC, fair brought the memories back.
There was a lot of talk about April Showers at that time, but they weren't really a band, more of a songwriting team. Wasn't there some tie-in with Elliot Davis and the Precious Organisation?
Jonathan Bernstein went on to work with Anne Dudley writing songs and (I think) film music, then took off to the States to become a writer for Spin and a TV host.
Great to hear it again - cheers!"
And then, just 48 hours later, this dropped in:-
"Hi, this is Jonathan Bernstein. I was one half of April Showers. Just want to say:
1) Its amazing and gratifying to me that people still like that song.
2) Thanks for the kind words, David, but we were a real group. A real stupid one. We wandered blindly into a record deal and immediately squandered the kind of opportunity that rarely if ever happens anymore--although at that time especially in Glasgow, it seemed to happen on an hourly basis-- due to being 19 and dumb. No affiliation with Elliot Davis, although I certainly used to know him or the Precious Organization.
3) Beatrice Colin is now a best-selling author. I did work briefly as a songwriter with Anne Dudley and I did move to the States at the start of the 90s. I don't recall ever being a Tv presenter but I did work at Spin for a while. Then I relocated to LA and gave the screenwriting racket a shot. The most recent thing with my name on it was a Jackie Chan movie called The Spy Next Door which I recommend if you have very undemanding children. I also write novels for the Young Adult audience and my Tv Column shows up in the Guardian guide most months. I also have a blog where myself and one of the writers from Family Guy talk about the shows we watched the previous week.
4) Again, thanks for posting the song."
To say I was stunned was a huge understatement. I've never hidden my admiration for those talented enough to make music far less that awe that I have for those who make great music. The bloke who wrote and played on one of THE great lost pop singles of all time has read TVV. Wow.
I still don't have a copy of the single, but thanks to some techological gizmos that allow youtube clips to be converted to mp3s, I can now offer the full extent of the recording career of April Showers:-
mp3 : April Showers - Abandon Ship
mp3 : April Showers - Abandon Ship (instrumental)
mp3 : April Showers - Every Time We Say Goodbye