Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Phones B Sportsman


I have become reacquainted with a single from my youth ... one of my favourite singles.
Last weekend I travelled to a small village in the Cotswolds to visit a long lost school friend, an old flat mate from Lincoln. He got in touch a few weeks ago - the world wide web is a wonderful thing - and a meeting was arranged.
Mentioned many times on this blog, Mark Collins still has his record collection from the past 35 years. Despite moving between Lincoln, Sheffield, London, Kenya and Bristol he has managed to keep hold of his vinyl and tapes. (He never lived in Hulme!). Sitting there in his house thumbing through his old seven inch vinyl boxes was like being back in his bedroom circa 1979. Some of the records were mine...had my writing on them. Apparently I used to give away records back then, I was a generous soul in the old days.
In return (On Returning) Mark handed me a mint copy of Phones B Sportsman 7"EP "I Really Love You". I have been hunting for this beauty for many many years.
Phones was a member of Swell Maps. The sleeve stipulates "No Maps" and rather like the Steve Treatment "5 A Sides" EP I don't really believe it. The "A Side" is sandwiched between songs on "Side B" whereas Side 2 contains the title track of the EP. Confused...you will be.
"I Really Love You" is a tuneless Elvisesque crooning ballad, the title is repeated over and over - a declaration of intent. The B Side begins with "I Woke Up This Morning", a short piece that collapses in laughter and Phones shouting "Shut Up Jowe! This Is My Single". "Get Down And Get With It" follows, this is the A Side. A hot rock n' rollicking Johnny Moped style slice of pub blues. It is a band playing live....which is why I find the "no Maps" motif hard to believe. Back to the B Side, and the next song is "The Wah Wah Track". Phones introduces the song: "This Is About The Things That Mean The Most To Me". He then travels around the studio picking up and playing a variety of instruments whilst claiming "I Like To Beat Up Little Girls. I Like To Beat Up Little Boys". I had totally forgotten how brilliant this single is. "The Olton" is the final track and is a 20 second bass line hidden in "The Wah Wah Track". I did say it was confusing.
Meeting Mark (and his family) has been a great highlight of 2013, and getting to hear this EP again is the cement amongst the fence. If you ever see this record hiding in some secondhand vinyl emporium - buy!
Thanks Mark.

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