by Simon

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 http://www.myspace.com/chrisfreesongs 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!