Thursday, 4 April 2019

THEME ARTICLE - "HOW 5 SCOTTISH BANDS SAVED THE END OF THE 80s FOR ME"

The end of the 80s from '87 onwards became all too stale, with Stock, Aitken and Waterman's Hit Factory and Acid House clogging up the charts with the same old sounds over and over.  It was a disappointing end of a decade that gave so much variety in styles and genres.  Almost every style of music made an impact in that decade.  It also gave new life to the "veterans" such as David Bowie, Elton John and Rod Stewart.  It gave us new movements such as Goth and New Romantic mixing with the 70s Disco, Ska and Punk.  No other decade gave so much to music.


The 90s pretty much passed me by, I had my old favourites from the 80s that were still making records but not getting into the charts.  There were Scottish bands around from the 80s such as the awesome Simple Minds and Big Country but I want to focus on the 5 new bands that first appeared around 1987 and carried me through the music doldrums into the 90s.  Each of these bands had a "live" like feel to their records, listen on headphones and you would swear you were in the studio with them.  A clear sound, brilliant melodies and the lyrics meant something.

TEXAS


Texas made joyous, guitar twanging, soulful music.  Sharleen Spiteri's voice was just heaven sent, effortless vocals and powerful and emotive.  Although the music was like American Country Pop, it surprised people that they were actually Scottish and not Texas natives! The song that got me hooked was the lush "I Don't Need A Lover" which prompted me instantly to buy the debut long player, "Southside".  Although arriving in 1989 just when the charts were pretty abysmal Texas were like a quick slap on the head that music could still be great again.



DEL AMITRI


Del Amitri, fronted by the gravel voiced Justin Currie were a brilliant band.  I caught them from their second album after they changed their lineup and sound in 1989.  The album was "Waking Hours" which contained the massive hit "Nothing Ever Happens".  The song that first caught my ears though was "Kiss This Thing Goodbye", such a pure sound and like Rock Pop but with a Folk vibe.  Justin's lyrics have always been thought provoking and emotive and the sound with harmonicas and strings were just fantastic.


HUE AND CRY


Pat and Greg Kane brought a brand of sophisticated Pop to the late 80s.  The single "Labour Of Love" was a classy, uptempo number that became their biggest ever hit.  This was the track that listened to constantly until I found the debut album, "Seduced And Abandoned".  Pat's soulful voice sounded even better on later tracks such as  "Looking For Linda".  This was something I hadn't heard before, in 1987 I needed this to rescue my thirst looking for new excellent music.



DEACON BLUE


One of my mates tipped me off about this band, lending me the debut album in 1987 called "Raintown".  I absolutely loved them and ended up seeing them live about 4 times in the space of six months.  "Dignity", "Chocolate Girl", "When Will You (Make My Telephone Ring)" were all quirky but soulful songs that seemed to life the spirits and optimisim of the listener.  Lead vocalist Ricky Ross had a great Rock voice when it suited but also Soul and Blues, his co-vocalist Lorraine McIntosh gave beautiful harmonies and together it was a dream.  The band gave amazing, energetic live performances too!

THE PROCLAIMERS


Charlie and Craig Reid gave us a completely new sound in 1987.  Acoustic Celtic Folk Rock is the best description I can give.  After Gerry Rafferty produced the song "Letter From America" the boys never looked back.  Of course they went on to make the most memorable song, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)".  It was an amazing sound they had, usually Scottish and Welsh singers and some Irish too take to an American vocal, hding their accents.  The Proclaimers kept their accents which gave their songs more depth.  The harmonies that Craig and Charlie made were amazing and the feel good vibe they evoked within their songs was just class.


Thanks to these 5 bands for keeping me sane during the "low" years of the late 80s and early 90s!





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