What a voyage it’s been spending a theme week on a band I’m not an expert on. I’ve learned some stuff. I’ve listened intently to more Stranglers tracks than I knew already. I’ve dug deep into the few albums of theirs I do have and I’ve watched fan made stuff on YouTube. I love how the punk bands in this era were so comfortable to show you their influences. I have enjoyed listening to classic soul, garage rock and The Kinks for the first time in ages. Most of all though, it’s the hits. The hits this band have are sublime. So let’s go out on a biggie. Let’s go out on their optimistic sign off from the end of Hugh Cornwell’s tenure with the band. Hugh officially left The Stranglers in 1990. A record company compilation album decreed that Always The Sun deserved another crack at glory.
“How many times have you woken up and prayed for the rain? How many times have you seen the papers apportion the blame?”
This last single was not technically a re-release. As it happens the release of the original album version from 1986 was widely considered a fumble by the record company. Dreamtime wasn’t doing the sort of business their previous few records had and it seemed the tide was changing for bands from the class of ’77. The money men botched the PR on Always The Sun even though it got good press and picked up radio play in regions where it wasn’t readily available. The song and the bands sound is a long way from punk at this stage. I don’t think the world knew what to do with a mellow philosophic Stranglers in the dawn of the rave decade. The suits managed to save face after Hugh’s exit from the band by reissuing the track as a 1990 Aztec Remix.
“Who gets to say? Who gets the work and who gets to play? I was always told at school, everybody should get the same”
The remix differences are really just production tweaks. Hugh took this ‘do over’ as a posthumous (for his time with the band, he isn’t dead, and if he was (WHICH HE’S NOT) how would I know what he thought about it?) acknowledgement and apology. He always believed in the potential of Always The Sun to be a latter day Stranglers hit. He was right and he was sort of wrong too. While fans have taken the song to their hearts as the end of an era, it only charted one spot higher when remixed and rereleased than it did back in ’86. Given the philosophical bent of the lyrics. I think that’s kind of fitting.
“How many times have you been told if you don’t ask you don’t get? How many liars have taken your money? Your mother said you shouldn’t bet?”
That brings us to the end of this theme week. I hope you’ve enjoyed a little obscurio domesticus with Ratticus Norvegicus. I think next time though I’ll do a band who’s discography I know inside out and back to front. Or make a theme up like I did back in the days of BOOBLESS808S. There are ‘Pages’ on the little hamburger menu up above where you can see all the theme weeks so far compiled. We’ve had everything from Kiss Covers for Halloween to Jimi Hendrix and topics as disperate and desperate as Landfill Indie, Songs inspired by The Smiths and Songs about London. I’m open to suggestions. On a stamped addressed envelope please. Sent into the heart of a dying star via carrier pigeon.
“Who has the fun? Is it always the man with the gun? Someone must have told him if you work too hard you can sweat”
As February 2021 fast approaches I’ve got the next two months worth of posts written already. Some new stuff, some retro stuff. I find February the hardest month of all. It includes some moments of light. Mrs ForTheDeaf’s Birthday and our Wedding Anniversary to name them both. It’s also the longest dankest point in the cold dark wet pissing misery that is an English winter. At this stage we’ve been knee deep in mud since October and I start of feel like a first world war soldier living in a trench and waiting for the cease fire (I know that makes me sound like an entitled melodramatic little priss, Hashtag FirstWorldWarProblems) but it’s coming soon.
The clocks will change, the evenings will stretch out. I will come home from work in daylight soon. I will drive to work in day light one day and it will feel like heaven. For now though. The equinox is still over a month away. Until then I can dream…
“There’s always the sun”