In a time when archives are being plundered and released in the name of entertainment comes a CD from new (to me) Azerbaijan based label Agdam Records. They have put together and put out an album of old recordings (previously unreleased) from old members of The A Band.
I can't quite fathom the reasons for them doing this....but they have and a copy has found its way to Hartop Towers, so I thought I'd give it a mention.
I have old tapes, old recordings of my material from the 1970's and 1980's, bands / projects I was involved in as well as the odd "solo" experiment with bath chain and biscuit tin but I sure as hell wouldn't have it put out for the public ear. It is well documented that myself and Dave Uden started recording and releasing tapes in the 1970's...and I am bloody glad only a handful of folk have ever heard those tapes. Why didn't I release anything in the 1980's apart from ultra limited cassettes...because (in the majority) it was crap, (I.B.F. & Muhviertel are exceptions) and it is still crap to this day.
So why have Agdam Records put out "Agdam"? Is there so much interest in The A Band members that a compilation of their early efforts warrants a release? Do Agdam Records of Azerbaijan really exist?
Stewart Walden kicks off the album with some home tapery poetry, the terribly named Gay Animal Women follow with an embarrassing track called "Children On Fire". Recorded live in 1989 at The Old Vic in Nottingham, this is a 20 odd minutes long track (an excerpt of an hour long performance) of folk wailing into microphone trying desperately to sound like Genesis P-Orridge over an awful rhythm. Poor beyond belief...fast forward to a project called Well Crucial and Martin Walden playing with a tape/radio recorder mixing OMD with Radio Devon. Unlistenable. The only thing that holds an interest here is that it was recorded in Paignton, Devon....and that town is 5 miles from Hartop Towers!
Walden/Campbell/Plaistow follow with a slight comedy piece called "Morons". Sepopeplel follow with a live track that sounds like bad cafe. A short (all too short) solo Neil Campbell live track follows before the icing on the cake is provided by Afterclap. At this point of listening I did not think that the album could have a worse track than Gay Animal Women but Afterclap proved me wrong. Recorded live in Warrington in 2007, it starts with an annoyingly voiced chap introducing members of Afterclap, and they all begin to play, strum, blow, pluck and hit their given instruments...then I pressed STOP.
I am all for folk releasing treasures from their past. Everyone loves a history as the saying goes, but this album can only hold interest and provide entertainment to those involved - those who were there at the time (and I feel sorry for the folk who had to endure Gay Animal Women and Afterclap) and their partners. It is like an "in-joke".
When I played this album I couldn't get the Georgina Spelvin quote out of my head: "if you do it, you do it for life". Don't know why.
The album hasn't put me off listening to Neil Campbell and his plethora of projects I am just surprised by the poor quality of material on this release, shame.