Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The 90s CD Singles Rummage # 1 - Blur

Blur's second single (after the little known 'She's So High') from April 1991 - now worth £25 if you believe this excellent fansite, though personally, as Arthur C. Clarke used to say on Mysterious World, 'I remain sceptical'. Great cover isn't it?

Easy to forget how sniffy the music press were about Blur early on - the view was almost that they were a novelty act, the sound-of-the-moment, not built to last, but this was a big UK chart hit (number 8!) that even a few jaded hacks from the inkies had to admit was quite good.

I saw them that autumn on one of those multi-band NME jamborees and against all expectations they were fast, tight, funny, spunky and punky and thoroughly ripped the place up.

Picking your way through the rather dated 'baggy' arrangements on this now you can hear prototypes of much of what was to come - strong guitar-propelled melodies, the Ray Davies influence on 'Mr Briggs' (and a bit of Syd Barrett on 'Other Way'), the woozy psychedelia of 'Inertia', the mockney pop-thrash of 'I'm All Over'. It all holds up pretty well I think.

Produced by that nice Mr. Stephen Street, who'd done such a splendid job for Mrs Morrissey's boy....

Blur - 'There's No Other Way' (1991)
Blur - 'Inertia' (1991)
Blur - 'Mr.Briggs' (1991)
Blur - 'I'm All Over' (1991)
.
[Do I play it now? No, but it was good to dust it off]

9 comments:

  1. Very nice. I'll have to have my own mini rummage. CD singles never really took off in the Mick household but I reckon I've got about 40, nearly all from Woolies bargain bin.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I quite like early Blur.....but I really took notice of them when I heard 'Popscene', which I reckon is one of the great 'lost' singles of the era right before Britpop.

    When I hear this particular single, I am reminded of the (unfairly) much-derided Northside...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Feel quite inspired to have a rummage myself. Feel a group post coming on, Mr H.

    Lots of my singles are on *tape* but I know I've got some corkers on CD. Stangelove, anyone?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Let's all just keep using that excellent word 'rummage', only good can come of it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Followed you across from Crying All The Way To The Chip Shop; thought I'd just say, damn good blog.


    I never much liked Blur before Parklife; some good songs and I wasn't surprised at all when the Mod influences came out of the closet. But it seemed a little too 'considered'; not enough soul.

    Plus I was working in the Virgin Megastore at the time of the first album and it was all Happy Mondays and Pixies and mad dance music for us. Blur were more like a boy band than an indie band at the time...

    These days I'm of the mind that Damon is one of the all time great songwriters that this country has given birth to; he has such a way with a melody. And he's never really stopped experimenting, and doing something that is at least interesting.

    Nothing quite as good as All Mod Cons or Setting Sons though. But really, who has?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Christ I have a colossal pile of these things too. I haven't had the endurance to go through and start fishing about for the good b-sides yet, but some time in early 2009 I might get round to it. Much under-rated, the CD single if you ask me.

    Rummage.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for these, Davy. A reminder of the psychedelic mandate that the '90s ushered in. I saw Blur at a "new bands showcase" sponsored by a radio station in Boston (I forget the call letters) in '91. They memorably left the stage after about half of one song as the singer (Damon?) explained that they were "too drunk to play". Great band, and it's great to hear these early trax. Perhaps the highlight of this particular showcase, for me, was a band called The Real People. I bought their CD. Perhaps I should rummage it out again...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Rummage, rummage, rummage.

    I vaguely remember Real People - couldn't hum one of their tunes though. You should post Emmett.

    Simon, I'm with you on Damon - 'our generation's Bowie'.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks to you (and Mick), I too have had a rummage.....it was great fun.

    ReplyDelete