B-side track Vid Kid Vamp is a collision of Trash City and Seventies glam, in what feels oddly like an unfinished prototype lyrically at least that is nonetheless entertaining. The second side takes its foot off the pedal slightly. Only the Ciao Portobello Mix of Sex Kick, stripping back the guitars to give the song a bass-led, electro, darker edge really works in these remixes. Also drop me a line if you have the rights to your music and would like assistance making your masterpieces available through legal channels. Listening to Velveteen right now and I have to conclude that it's not half bad. I daresay Wendy was the precursor to Shirley Manson. Down on You livens things up again, but maintains the darker feel that dominates the album from hereon in.
There are alternative 12 inch mixes of Revolution Baby and Tell That Girl to Shut Up that, truthfully, are really not improvements. Falling for a Goldmine takes the foot off the pedal, and is one of the weaker songs on the album, though as a moody, atmospheric ballad, it works well. Disc two offers the unreleased on album stuff, and is a mixed bag. Hey Sister Moon are you coming round soon Hey Sister Moon, in your midnight blue Hey Sister Moon, are you coming round soon Hey Hey and Sister Moon, oh I've been missing you Now if you take my heart you can take my hand And I will be with you up in the big land And groove on Sister, groove on Sister Moon Groove on, my baby, grove on, groove on Sister Moon Now Sister d'you remember all of those days All those crazy nights seem lost in a haze But every new moment that's a brand new start When you got the nature down deep in your heart And as the mountains move on the winds of change There's no fear of the end, when you've got the world Running in your veins So groove on Sister, groove on Sister Moon Groove on my baby, grove on, groove on Sister Moon Now you got the skies and you got the stars And you got the power to break a young heart Yeah you got the power and you got the life And you the love to make it alright Hey Sister Moon are coming round soon Hey Hey and Sister Moon, in your midnight blue So groove on Sister, groove on Sister Moon Groove on, my baby, grove on, groove on Sister Moon Now you can take my heart and you can take my hand And I won't feel blue when you got the stars Shining down on you And groove on Sister, groove on Sister Moon Groove on my baby, grove on, groove on Sister Moon Groove on Sister Moon, groove on Sister Moon Oh won't you, won't you, won't you, won't you groove on With me beneath the stars, take my heart to the stars To the stars oh yeah Groove on Sister Moon Groove on Sister Moon Groove on Sister Moon Groove on Sister Moon. Note for the kiddios - don't get confused, I know Wendy James looks a bit like Paris Hilton, but, um, there's no similarity. Now, can we have a special edition of Little Magnets vs The Bubble of Babble please?. I'm an ex-pat Brit so many of my singles are from English, Scottish or Irish bands.
The singles have aged badly but the second half of the album has a nice laid-back vibe to it. Luckily, there are better things on offer here, including a demo version of Sex Kick less polished than the album version, less crunching than the Kershaw version but still a solid rendition and several B-side songs. Further information from any band members or managers, roadies, groupies, etc. The Mystery Song, on the other hand, is a sweet acoustic number that reveals Wendy to be a better singer than people gave her credit for. The band were fronted by Wendy James — our last great pop star, a sultry, teasing, pouting, self-aware role model for teen rebels who barely hid her contempt for Radio 1 morons or her ambition, and seemed to encapsulate the post-80s feminism emerging at the time, no longer bitter and angry, but confident, sexy and full of piss and vinegar, taking no prisoners and no bullshit.
Landslide… does it more obviously, channelling girl groups of the era flawlessly. The Knuckle Duster mix of Tell That Girl… is a simultaneously beefed up and stripped down, mostly instrumental version of the track that is especially pointless, and rather sums up everything wrong with 12 mixes from non-dance acts of the time. The production is dated, but not as dated as much 1980s stuff, and the tracks on the main releases are incredibly, consistently good. Kiss Me is a pure rock, with minimal vocals and lots of guitar riffing. Born to be Sold, sadly, is the weakest song on the album, despite a surfeit of pop culture namechecks, and probably a bad choice for the final single release — it just lacks the dynamic sound needed to work. Oddly, this edition of the album features I Want Your Love — a great, pivotal track, but one lifted from Pop Art and most definitely not part of the original Velveteen release.
The album finishes with the title track, a near-ten minute epic that runs through several movements really! Things get back on the official track with The Only One, another bouncy, effortlessly catchy uptempo tune, that, alongside Landslide of Love, has a Sixties vibe. Love Me is a curio — an instrumental, off-kilter number that seems influenced by left-field alt rock like Devo. I love an intriguing B-Side!! Revolution Baby B-side No It U Lover is a pointless and very Eighties remix of the song that is really horrible. Side One closer Song to the Stars is a slight, but effectively minimal country song, while Side Two opens with the sleazy low-fi garage punk number Kiss Their Sons — a great little number that shows how the band had developed their sound from the first album. If any group feels like The Reprobate distilled into musical form, then this is it. God Save the Royalties is a track played backwards, which I guess would have caused some American politicians to have kittens.
W11 Blues does what the title promises — a stomping tale of dodgy characters and dodgy deals in Notting Hill. Time for Change is another bouncy, Sixties-inspired, upbeat number, while Strings of my Heart has a rockier feel — both tracks, notably, lacking the polish of the album, which gives them a rawer, live feel — not a bad thing. All downloads are for a limited time and will be removed on request. . . .
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