Well, it looks like summer’s back for a bit, so let’s break out this one from 1992. A load of other acts have done dance versions of this song since, but this was the one they’re all copying. Indeed, Opus III vocalist Kirsty Hawkshaw has done at least two separate remakes herself, each with several trillion remixes, but back in 1992 Opus III were actually surprisingly restrained, offering just three mixes and a B-side for this one…
Opus III “It’s A Fine Day” (PWL CD single, 1992)
Link: Opus III – It’s A Fine Day (edit)
Link: Opus III – It’s A Fine Day (full length)
Link: Opus III – Evolution Rush
Link: Opus III – It’s A Fine Day (acappella)
The song is of course a cover version, the original being this fully acappella rendering credited simply to Jane on its original release (though at various times also to Jane and Barton or Barton and Jane, in recognition of songwriter and general mastermind of the project Ed Barton), issued on Cherry Red in 1983:
Earlier this year, my old computer died. Not the hard drive but the… other bits. I don’t understand computers. Anyway, happily my back-ups were not too far out of date so I didn’t lose much. And I did eventually work out how to get stuff off the old hard drive as well, though that’s a bit of a headache because… well, as I said, I don’t understand computers.
Anyway! This sent me back to my backups to try to figure out what I did and didn’t have backed up. I have about half a terabyte’s worth of USB sticks (most of them identical, which doesn’t help) and a shoebox full of CD-Rs and DVD-Rs and DVD+Rs (whatever the difference is… but they seem to work the same, anyhow). And this resulted in me rediscovering a load of stuff I’d completely forgotten I had, stuff probably downloaded from blogs that are now long gone. So this post is just some random stuff from one of my absurdly large number of discs, this one a TDK CD-R labelled, with my customary eye for detail, “BACKUPS”, and mainly containing out-of-date copies of the portable versions of several popular open source software products, but also some music. Of course if anyone actually wants an ancient copy of Audacity Portable 1.2.6 revision 3, I’ll happily upload that as well…
So what we have here is…
808 State – Bond
Featuring misanthropic miseryguts M Doughty from hip-hop-jazz-rockers Soul Coughing (and I really must post some of their stuff some day), this was one of the singles from ver State’s 1996 LP Don Solaris. I see the lead single, the loping 5/4-time “Lopez” featuring James Dean Bradfield, appear fairly often on the blogs I frequent, but this one not so much. (The other single, “Azura” with Louise Rhodes, is also pretty good and I hope it will turn up somewhere in my backups as well. I’ll post it if it does! Unfortunately the only physical CD I have of it is a one-track radio promo.) Basic album version here, plus a harder, rockier alternative mix and a bonus B-side.
Flor-De-Lis – Todas as Ruas de Amor
Chirpy Portuguese folk-pop that came somewhere in the middle of the table at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2009. Well, I liked it anyway. This version is from their album Signo Solar, which came out a couple of years later, though I seem to recall preferring the earlier versions.
Mauerblümchen Brie – Happyness Is Not For Me
Guitar-based indiepop. Seems to be the only thing this band ever released. Apparently off a 1998 compilation called What You Hear Today, You’ll Be Singing Tomorrow, which would be a great title for a blog, if anyone’s looking for one. I guess I didn’t think much of the rest of the tracks as this is the only one I backed up (unless the rest is somewhere else… which is actually quite likely).
Time for some whimsical semi-acoustic Aussie indiepop from Frente!. No surprise that someone who loves The Cardigans as much as I do, would also have a soft spot for this lot – especially their early EPs. This seven-tracker from 1993 was a kind of introduction to Frente! for the international audience and draws on songs already released in Australia, some of them, including the title track, being remade for this release.
The Melbourne band never really made much impact here in the UK (their second album “Shape” seemed to be in every bargain bin for about a decade) but they had a decent run in their homeland and also dented the US charts with their version of New Order‘s “Bizarre Love Triangle”, which is included here. Also here is their version of “Not Given Lightly”, originally recorded solo by Chris Knox of New Zealand oddmeisters Tall Dwarfs.
Frente!: Labour of Love EP
Link: Frente! – Labour of Love
Link: Frente! – Testimony
Link: Frente! – Not Given Lightly
Link: Frente! – Risk
Link: Frente! – Paper, Bullets, Walls
Link: Frente! – Bizarre Love Triangle
Link: Frente! – Oh Brilliance
Back to the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games for this one. If you’ve never seen “Isles of Wonder”, it’s worth checking out. I would recommend the DVD because you can watch it without commentary, which is by far the best way. But if you don’t want to shell out, the Olympic Broadcasting Service’s version is on YouTube and their commentary is less annoying than the BBC’s.
Here’s the studio version of Underworld’ s epic piece that was played during the “Pandemonium” section. It’s 17 minutes and 15 seconds long, so you get your money’s worth, especially as you’re getting this for free…
Plucking a CD at random from the drawer, I find myself grasping a copy of “Magic Style” by The Badman, a track from that early-90s “toytown techno” craze which, er, doesn’t sample the theme from The Magic Roundabout. If anything it’s more of a re-worked cover version.
It does however feature a load of samples from the film version of said series – not the 3D-rendered 2005 version with Ian McKellen as the voice of Zebedee (it’s the part he was born to play, darlings) but the 1970 feature Dougal and the Blue Cat. I would guess that Mister Badman found a VHS of said film, thought “hurrah, I’ll sample the theme and make a spiffing anthem that the E’d-up young folk will love”, then got into the studio only to discover that the theme wasn’t actually used in the film and he was stuck with recreating it from memory. Like I say, that’s a guess. In any case, the result isn’t too bad, probably less cloying than sticking some breakbeats behind the original theme would have been.
Speaking of which… of course I can’t post a Magic Roundabout-themed rave choon without acknowledging “Summers Magic” by Mark Summers, a bigger hit that came out around the same time. Nowadays it’s probably more associated with the Pegg-Frost-Wright movie The World’s End, though it’s disappointingly absent from the soundtrack album. From memory, I think the version in the film is the original mix (and whichever one it is, in the movie it’s cut together with “The Only Rhyme That Bites” by MC Tunes vs 808 State anyway) but this is the one that counts…
The first is Kirsty MacColl‘s string-drenched version, a duet with Evan Dando and produced by Moz-pal Boz Boorer, initially appearing as one of the new tracks on her “best of” album Galore. It was released as the collection’s second single a few months later, to widespread and frankly understandable apathy. The real replay value here lies in the three MacColl originals it’s bundled with: “Tread Lightly” from the 1989 album Kite, and non-album singles “He’s On the Beach” (from 1983) and “Terry” (1985).
A week after Galore came out, Duran Duran released their version of “Perfect Day” as the lead single from their covers album Thank You. Lou Reed apparently called it “the best cover ever completed of one of my own songs”, though he may have been joking. It took a while to decide which of the two CD singles to put up here (because damn it, I’m not letting Duran Duran have more tracks than Kirsty MacColl), but the sheer weirdness of Duran Duran doing “911 Is A Joke” swung the decision in favour of CD1. In case you’re wondering who they’re covering on “Love Voodoo”, they’re not – it’s one of their own songs from The Wedding Album, in remixed form.
Plucking a CD at random from the drawer, I find myself holding a copy of “Rough Lover” by Posh. Remember Posh? Me neither. But I’ve got this single, so I suppose they must have existed. Also it appears I once spent 50p on this. Guitars, electronics, third-hand punky attitude, somewhat underpowered female vocals. There was a lot of this sort of thing around in the late 1990s and I wouldn’t say this was one of the better examples. Still, somebody out there will be looking for this, probably. So here it is.