Saturday, 16 January 2010
Some Early Associated Tracks
Remember cassette fanzines, flexidiscs and NME send off in the post for 'em tapes? Those were the days eh? Well Associates did their share of contributing oddly unique tracks for them. Works in progress all of them. "Even Dogs In The Wild" popped out twice in two such unique versions. The first of these versions slipped out on the compilation cassette "Irrationale" which was released in 1979. I got my copy (£1.99) through the post from a list in the back of the NME in 1980. It is one of my favourite Associates tracks ever. Reverb dripping off the guitar, Billy intoning, phrasing and having a laugh. It fades out over the whistling solo and its 2 minutes 20 seconds are over just far too quickly. I'd really love to hear an unfaded out version of this performance/mix. Another version was supplied on a clear flexidisc with the Flexipop Magazine Issue 20 in 1982. Flexipop mis-spelled Alan Rankine's name, dropping the "e" in Rankine in the writing credit on the disc. Here the track is much more in line with The Affectionate Punch version, but with a grubbier mix, a slightly different vocal and backing vocals and a wild, distorted whistling solo from Billy. Great track.
"Aggressive And Ninety Pounds" appeared on the New Musical Express's "Mad Mix II" cassette (1984). It's an early version of "13 Feelings" with Billy "do-doo"-ing all the way through while Stevie Reid plays guitar over strings and a tinny beatbox. On the NME cassette insert playlist (click the photo below) the band name "Associates" had become "The Associates featuring Billy MacKenzie"! In 1988 I bought a cassette (for £3 inc P&P!) from a classified ad in the NME. It has a very similar sounding version of "13 Feelings" on it but with a slightly beefier drumsound. The cassette was of some of the original "Perhaps" Sessions - which is, of course, where the "Aggressive And Ninety Pounds" NME track originates.
I've also found another couple of tracks ("Sinking Deeper" and "Hungry Look") from a Dundee band called Strange News which featured Billy MacKenzie on vocals, Steve Reid on guitar, Andy on Bass and Gavin on Drums. Billy wrote the lyrics on both tracks [listen out for "Every breath you breathe belongs to someone there" on "Hungry Look"]. Recorded just after Billy MacKenzie and Alan Rankine's MkI Associates had recorded The Affectionate Punch, Stevie Reid took Andy round to visit Billy, they picked up their drummer, motored down to Edinburgh and recorded both tracks in an afternoon. Billy and Andy split the studio costs between them apparently. I was given the two tracks on a CDR in Dundee at a Billy MacKenzie tribute night in Fat Sam's a few years back.
All the best