Friday, January 04, 2008

Six Satsumas And Some Disco

Did you buy LPs when you were a young teenager? I didn't; they were too expensive and for grown-ups. I bought singles, and sometimes when I couldn't even afford to buy them new, I bought them secondhand - at Ronnie's in Torquay Market, just across from the shoe repair bar and along from the fruit and veg. To this day I associate the indoor market smell of cabbage-leaf rubbish and fresh-produce cardboard boxes with groovy new wave, pop and disco singles; at Ronnie's you even came away with them in brown paper bags, like apples and pears.

This was a Ronnie's purchase (25p I think) and I have always loved it - it's very Friday night to me, conjuring up a glamorous urban landscape of all-night dancing and neon lights reflecting off shiny car roofs. And it's got those electronic percussion things that go 'boo!' on it too (they were all over records by 1982 but not so common in 1978).

I can't for the life of me see why this track's on the first of Sean Rowley's Guilty Pleasures compilations. As I've written here before, I think the guilty pleasure is a dubious concept anyhow, but even if you accept the premise that some records are too 'uncool' to admit liking but addictive anyhow, I hardly think this belongs in the category with 'The Pina Colada Song'. And I bet you didn't know Julian Marshall (keyboards) went on to be in The Flying 'Money (That's What I Want)' Lizards?

Anyway, this song was everywhere in the summer of 1978, a big hit in the UK and US, and perhaps it'll transport you back to those heady days if you play it tonight. Those electro crashes and 'boos!' work beautifully with sound-responsive disco lights, and may I suggest a bit of 'Oliver's Army' to follow, by contrast? 1978-9 was all about contrasts.

Marshall Hain - 'Dancing In The City' (1978)

[According to the interweb, Ronnie's is still going in Torquay market - they sell CDs now, of course]


  1. I posted a track from Marshall Hain's only (pretty good) album a long while ago and actually got a comment from Kit Hain herself asking me to re-post it as she didn't have a copy of the album anymore.

  2. My prediction for 2008 is a vintage year on TGOE. 2007 Ended with booze. 2008 starts with ciggies, poetry and polite Disco - truly tip top.

    Never bought the single but always enjoyed it. Is it just me or is there a touch of Renaissance's - 'Northern Lights' about ' Dancing in the City'?

  3. Ooh, I LOVE that - and 'Clouds Across The Moon' by The Rah Band...

  4. LOL! I used to hate this stuff back in the day...

    Still got my pic bag of 'I'm The Face/Zoot Suit' from Ronnie's. Think I was ripped off mind, even though I had watched it come down in price (from sommat like £25) for months...


  5. And today the starting price at ebay is just £1.99...

  6. I remember buying this one too, when it was dropping down the chart. I hadn’t paid much attention to it during it’s chart run on the but then I heard it on a good hi-fi and I was hooked by the bass and the boos and the slick production. Impressive in a soulless sort of way. Never sounded the same on our old record player though.

    And did somebody mention Northern Lights? Now there’s a brilliant Guilty Pleasure. You may consider it a dubious concept but you try admitting you like this in certain circles and see the looks you get.

  7. I like it I like it I like it!!!

    But then, I aim to be impressive, in a soulless sort of way.

  8. I hope you took that 'souless' comment in the spirit it was meant. I'm totally with you on the merit of the humble 45. I still bought more singles than albums well in to my 20's. I'll always love 'em if only for the fact that as long as there has been pop music there have been crap bands who have that one moment of inspiration. Naming those bands is good drunken pub debate material.

  9. Only tonight after a bit of Googling have I found out that Renaissance were seriously prog. I had them down as a one-hit singles band!

  10. Symphonic prog, no less. You know my guilty prog secret. I've got some. Annie Haslam is just brilliant

  11. i have no idea what you lot are on about but if it's got a boo boo drum bit in i'm for it.
    i went to one of theose guilty pleasures do's and it was horrid. and that blokes got a stupid beard.

  12. This was out on Harvest, wasn't it, Davy? A fair prognosis of some proggery then ;-))

  13. Prognosis Prog - there's your next blog title right there.

  14. Ah yes .. 1978. The year when my previously black and white world became technicolor.

    Perhaps it was my red and white hooped 'mohair' jumper and (my girl) Sharon's rainbow hooped socks (crucially pulled just ABOVE the knee) that did it.

    Or Blondie's 'Denis' cover, or Agnetha's ice-blue eye shadow, or Johnny Finger's pyjamas, or All Mod Cons' red, white and blue, or Rachel Sweet's lippy, or the Buzzcocks Love Bites, or Ian Dury's Stick, or Elkie's Lilac Wine, or Mr Blue Sky, or One More Night with Yellow Dog, ...

    or perhaps simply the fact that I discovered beer, and girls, and life itself.

    Thanks for the post davy.

    I suppose it wasn't all wondrous - and my rose-coloured glasses are second-hand NHS with a sticking plaster keeping them together. I'm off for a lie down in MacArthur Park with Ivor Biggun and The Dooleys.

  15. I likes the pic Dick. Good of the Guinness.


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