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First and Last LPs: From Slayed? to the Burning World

I know that this is a bit late but personal issues have gotten in the way of sitting down and writing this.

Cast your mind back to the year of our lord One Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy Two-  a time when colours did not just clash but fought pitched battles on the tank tops of our nation and lumbering flare-wearing dinosaurs roamed the land.

It was just after Christmas when a freckled nine year old was wondering how he would spend the untold riches he had received from a doting aunt and uncle – a whole five pounds! As it was the decision was not hard: Of the many fine bands performing on Top of the Pops one stood out – Slade. It was not a difficult decision to avoid the fine Airfix models on sale at the Hobby Shop in Elm Park and go instead to Carnival records to buy a copy of SLAYED?

Released in November 1972, SLAYED? was the band’s third studio studio alum and the first to chart (although a live album, Slade Alive, charted earlier in the year). While including two of the band’s biggest hits Gudbuy T’Jane and Mama Weer All Crazee Now

Slade had a much harder edge than many of the so called glam rock bands as can be evidenced on their cover of Janis Joplin’s Move Over:

It was an album that was much loved but much abused by  my sister’s Dansette-style record player and within a few years it was unplayable, but such is life. My other half purchased  the CD version a few years ago and it still sounds great (okay Let the good Times Roll was a mistake but we are a forgiving couple!)

While I have purchased a fair bit of of second hand vinyl since, the last time I bought a new LP was in June 1989. Before heading off to spend a month working at Prestwick Airport in sunny Strathclyde (as it was at the time), I felt a need to have some  new music to listen to on my Walkman. I had already picked two albums: Workbook, Bob Mould’s solo debut (I was very fond of Husker Du and still am) and Cloudland by Pere Ubu. The final choice was a on shot in the dark. Swans were a band I had heard of but had never heard any of their music I had just seen an ad for their new album  The Burning World and I thought I would give the band a try.

Produced by Bill Laswell and featuring a Robert Mapplethorpe photo on the cover The Burning World was Swans’ major label debut but sold very poorly. Michael Gira, the driving force behind the band has disowned the album saying ” I abhor that record”.

And yet it is an album I still play. Being relatively melodic it is a massive change in direction from their earlier work, most of which can best be described as a “bloody awful”.

Perhaps the best track on the album is the cover of Blind Faith’s Can’t Find My Way Home, featuring Jarboe on vocals.

Gira claims that Laswell intimidated him during the recording and as a result his singing was cramped and monotone. Perhaps so, but on the song Mona Lisa Mother Earth, the style fits well:

What more to say? Did the album change my life? Not in the least but, hyperbole aside, how many albums really do that?

Carnival Records is long gone but the Hobby Shop in Elm Park is still there with the same signs and layout and perhaps the same Airfix models….

3 comments on “First and Last LPs: From Slayed? to the Burning World

  1. […] The series is nearing its end. Last week it was just me, playing Bruce Springsteen and James Last on cassette. This week, CD s – and radiator (who now blogs here) reflects on the rise and fall of the independent record store and explains his daughter’s name, and TNC (who too infrequently blogs here) explores heavy metal’s homoerotic underbelly and hip hop’s late period. You have a couple of days to add your first and last CDs, and next week we move into the future with mp3s. Update: and we also have The Poor Mouth with some glam rock and avante post-rock. […]

  2. […] Barbara’s independent record stores and buying leather-homo metal, Jams on independent record (and model) stores in Elm Park and buying a glam classic, RustyFruitJuice on why he became a dope fiend rent boy, and me on the music of the black […]

  3. […] of that series were TNC on camp metal, how Rusty Fruit Juice became a smack addict rent boy, the Poor Mouth’s journey fromglam rocking freckled nine year old to art rocking Prestwick Air…, Radiator with the Pixies in sunny Stoke, and Martin Black from puppy love to pocket fishrmen. The […]

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