1998 : The Pale Fountains - Longshot For Your Love

BUY HERE

CLICK HERE TO READ RECORD REVIEWS

 

LONGSHOT FOR YOUR LOVE

all songs written by michael head (morrison leahy music ltd)

except 10. written by d. williams/h. redd/n. watts/s. greene (kee-drick masic/blackeye music)
and 11. written by john barry/hal david (united artists music)

1/2/7/11 © 1982 les disques du crepuscule courtesy of les disques du crepuscule
3 – 6 © 1982 bbc worldwide ltd. . john peel session produced by tony wilson & dave dade
recorded july 19, 1982 . broadcast august 3, 1982 . released by arrangement with bbc worldwide music
8 – 10 © bbc worldwide ltd. . old grey whistle test . produced by michael appleton
live broadcast april 22. 1983 released by arrangement with bbc worldwide music
12 © 1985 virgin records ltd. . courtesy of virgin schallplatten gnribh
13 © 1984 virgin records ltd. courtesy of virgin schallplatteri gmbh

compiled and conceived by stefan kassel & frank lahnemann

photographs by christina birrer, mark baker, fin costello/redferns, mechthild holter, john stoddart/virgin records.
mastered by nilesh patel at the exchange, london

special thanks to michael head, eric mason, patrick moore, konishi yasuharu, james nice, christina birrer, geoff king, frank brinkhuis, dick leahy, mike alway, peter j. stretton, toni hemmings/bbc, sabine emmerich/virgin, annemarie schmttz, paul kinder/virgin, sabine pflitsch/Spex magazine, peer kählmoos, alasdair blair, thorsten heller, mechthild holter and nicola 84 (love situation)

compilation produced by stefan kassel & frank lahnemann

1. just a girl (4:23)
2. (there’s always) something on my mind (2:40)
3. lavinia’s dream (3:43)
4. longshot for your love (3:16)
5. thank you (2:49)
6. the norfolk broads (3:33)
7. benoit’s christmas (2:43)
8. hey there fred (3.01)
9. palm of my hand (3.19)
10. free (4:19)
11. we have all the time in the world (2:47)
12. just a girl (3:18)
13. love situation (3:51)

 

I can’t remember the first time I became aware of the music of The Pale Fountains. The memory is lost in London fog. Their record was the buzz of the Tokyo New Wave scene – but I had yet to hear them. One day, finally, I got the records at The Pied Piper House, a legendary record shop in Tokyo: Thank You and Just A Girl – both Maxis. I quickly became a Pale Fountains fanatic.

My huge record collection reflected my passion for the great songsmiths of the 60’s – Jim Webb, Roger Nichols, Tony Hatch, The Zombies, Teddy Randazzo, Smokey, Brian, and of course, the man with the initials B.B. At the same time, I was into New Wave artists like The Slits, PIL, The Talking Heads and The Honeymoon Killers.

I was still tossin’ and turning and struggling to find my own musical style. I was really overwhelmed when I heard the music of The Pale Fountains. Everyday I played those two singles again and again. Finally their first album was released – Pacific Street – a masterpiece of the eighties. I cried.

Another masterpiece was the single Palm Of My Hand. Unfortunately I don’t have this record anymore. I once lent this beautiful record to a girlfriend who I haven’t seen since the summertime of that year. When The Pale Fountains played in Tokyo on their first tour, they played this song. Michael Head made the excuse, “Tonight we don’t have a trumpet player, so I’ll sing”, and he started to sing trumpet riffs. It sounded very sweet and painful. It’s a show I’II never forget.

If you were fortunate enough to hear the music of The Pale Fountains in younger days you know what a great experience it was for me. It’s like the memory of my old jazz friend who died at 21 years of age.

The Pale Fountains – I love the name.

Konishi Yasuhara/Pizzicato Five

 

Longshot For Your Love
For a brief moment in the early eighties The Pale Fountains had it all. From the simple brilliance of their band name, to the immaculate record sleeves; from their Little Rascals look, to the diverse but always delicately well-crafted songs, The Pale Fountains exemplified everything that was classy and exciting in pop. But a few classic singles and their debut album Pacific Street only told half the story. Longshot For Your Love tells the rest. Its the perfect companion piece to Pacific Street one of the eighties most sophisticated albums. Legendary “lost’ songs that fill in the blanks between their first single (1982) and the debut album (1984) are available here for the first time ever, If Longshot For Your Love only compiled the first ever release of The Pale Fountains’ legendary Peel Session and Old Grey Whistle Test appearance than it would be essential listening. The addition of long-lost singles, cover versions, and obscure compilation tracks makes this release a precious package that pop fans could have only dreamed about. It’s all here – and it’s all amazing. Longshot captures a youthful and enthusiastic band with their innocence still intact. Hearing the rarities on Longshot For Your Love confirms what one already knew and believed about The Pale Fountains – theirs was a unique and special talent. Two years (1982-1984) is hardly a career in music; the songs compiled on Longshot For Your Love prove that two years of glorious and consistent songwriting can make careers that are 10 times that long seem bereft of material in comparison.

The Pale Fountains were formed in 1980/81 – 17 year old Michael Head (guitar and vocals) jamming in bass player Chris McCaffrey’s cellar with a school mate of Chris’, Tom “Jock” Whelan on drums. Nathan McGough (later to become Happy Mondays manager) joined as percussionist and also handled early managerial duties. Les Roberts was recruited as a part time member playing flute. Trumpet player Andy Diagram joined the band after he met The Paleys while he was a member of Dislocation Dance (who played with The Pale Fountains on their first trip to London).

Like many of the top “underground” bands in early eighties Britain, The Pale Fountains were from Liverpool. Their birthplace, however, was the only thing they shared with most of their hometown contemporaries, sunshine, not rain; shorts, not trenchcoats. were the Paleys’ trademarks. Compared with the music that was coming from Liverpool at the time, for The Pale Fountains, Glasgow, miles to the north, and home of Postcard Records, must have seemed next door. Separate gigs in Liverpool supporting both Aztec Camera and Orange Juice were among the most important of the Paleys’ formative years.

Early Paleys reviews tended to concentrate as much on the band’s clothing (shorts, sandals, hiking boots), their love of the outdoors, or how tough they were as an opponent in “five-a-side footie” as much as they did on the band’s music. Quite often this was a result of the band’s youthful exuberance and constant habit of talking about exactly those topics. One could even argue that Baden Powell the scout leader, and Baden Powell the bossa nova guitarist, had an equal influence on The Pale Fountains earliest days – Nathan McGough had a picture of the scout leader on his congas. NME dubbed them “A Certain Ratio short-a-likes” because of their tendency to wear shorts on stage like their Factory Records counterparts. The band went to great lengths to explain that what they wore on stage was exactly what they’d be wearing anywhere – it wasn’t some contrivance – and in any case, it was the music – passionate, from the heart – that was the ultimate concern.

Michael Head stated in 1982, “I just want to write classic songs”. This songwriting concept was repeated over and over again to anyone who would listen. Names like Burt Bacharach, John Barry, Sergio Mendes, Love, and Simon & Garfunkel were constantly being dropped. Cover versions from this era’s live shows included: Love’s Maybe The People Will Be The Times, Simon & Garfunkel’s Scarborough Fair, and Burt Bacharach’s Walk On By. Michael’s desire to write songs for “Shirley Bassey and people like that” appeared in several early clippings. The Paleys were even rumoured to be recording an album of Bacharach, Mendes, and Love covers for Operation Twilight. In the post-punk explosion of the early eighties these names didn’t fit with the scene’ – in fact, they were probably the most unhip musical references one could make.

Michael’s yearning to write that perfect. big, distant, timeless, pop song shines brightly on each track of this cd. The sophisticated arrangements and maturity of the playing is remarkable considering the relative youth of the band. Even more amazing is how the Paleys infused an “otherwordliness” – a moody and atmospheric vibe – to songs that were derived from these traditional pop influences. It was obvious that each song could stand alone without the sometimes ‘huge’ production that was lavished on the finished versions. The Pale Fountains meant it and Michael Head knew the importance of great songwriting: “We put the songs first. If they need a flute or a 100 piece orchestra or just me and an acoustic, that’s how we’ll do them.” (Record Mirror, 1982). Hearing Michael alone with his acoustic guitar on the rare 1982 Crepuscule compilation track Benoit’s Christmas which sees its first cd release on Longshot, the sophisticated pop sensibility that is the foundation for even the ‘largest’ Pale Fountains’ production is revealed in its most basic form – and it shines.

The Pale Fountains signed their first record deal (with Operation Twilight) in the spring of 1982. Michael Head was 18: “We just played a gig in London, Crepuscule saw us and suggested we do this single, and we thought brilliant, y’know, ‘cos Les Disques Du Crepuscule all sounded so luxurious.” (Jamming, 1984). Just A Girl, the first single, was released in the pop summer of 1982. The inclusion of the Paleys’ original Operation Twilight single on this compilation marks the first time this version has been available since its release. It remains one of the best examples of Arthur Lee’s influence on Michael Head. The opening trumpet off is almost identical to Love’s The Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This from their seminal Forever Changes album. The b-side (There’s Always) Something On My Mind also appears on cd for the first time. A later version, recorded in 1983, was included on Pacific Street.

A second Operation Twilight single was scheduled for release in September, 1982. (I’m A) Longshot For Your Love (from which this compilation takes its name) was given a catalog number – OPT 015 – but never released. Searches of Crepuscule’s vaults reveal that an official studio version was never recorded. The version that appears on this cd is taken from the Peel Session that was recorded in July, 1982. This compilation marks the first time any version of this song has ever been released.

This type of delay is not uncommon to long time Pale Fountains fans. After the initial release of the Just A Girl single in 1982, fans had to wait until February, 1984 for Pacific Street – released on Virgin Records – with whom The Paleys had decided to sign with in October 1982 amidst much heated speculation about the amount of the signing bonus. The interest from major labels to sign The Pale Fountains reached its peak in the late summer of 1982. Bassist ChrIs McCaffrey summed it up this way: “We played The Venue (London) in the middle of that period and all we could see was these fellas from different record companies trying to clap louder than one another. Michael was going to ask everyone at the back to clap and all those at the front to wave their contracts” (Record Mirror, 1982).

But the Paleys never achieved the main stream success the frenzied major label bidders were expecting. Their highest chart placing was with the first Virgin single Thank You (released in October 1982) which reached #48 on the singles chart. The second Paleys release on Virgin, the single Palm of My Hand (released in May 1983), peaked at #59. This was the “golden era” of The Pale Fountains’ popularity. In what was to become an all too common experience for Paleys followers, instead of grasping the momentum, Michael Head disappeared not to surface again until the release of UnIess in January 1984, lust a month before the appearance of the band’s debut album. Keeping with this theme, tapes of the Paleys’ May 1983 Janice Long session could not be located by the BBC when searching their archives for material for this compilation.

When Pacific Street finally hit the streets it was a remarkable achievement. The depth and varied nature of the songs on the debut album made it an instant classic. As Chris McCaffrey stated, “Every song was different but you could still tell it was a Paleys song”. The songs compiled on Longshot prove that The Paleys had another classic in the bag even before 1984. If Pacific Street was the culmination of the musical ideas expressed by The Pale Fountains in the early stage of their career, than Longshot completes the picture.

The Peel Session, recorded on July 19, 1982 and broadcast on August 3 was “one of the best things we ever did”, according to Michael Head. Like all the John Peel Session tracks on this cd, the inclusion of Lavinia’s Dream marks the first time this version of this song has been heard since the original Peel broadcast (a different version of Lavinia’s Dream does appear as a b-side on the rare Crepuscule 12″ of Just A Girl). The sundrenched West Coast pop that was high lighted so magically on Pacific Street tracks like Abergele Next Time and Crazier is given an early workout on the previously unreleased Longshot For Your Love. The Peel version of Thank You allows one to hear the Paleys’ best selling single the way the band may have wanted it to sound. Michael Head was actually disillusioned by the finished single version of Thank You, thinking it too closely mimicked the 60’s orchestral feel they were trying to capture. Andy Diagram said the single version was too derivative: “In a way the arrangers did their job too well. They gave us exactly what we wanted – a classic sixties song, Dusty Springfield style, but we think it went back to that sound too much” (Debut, 1983). Also included among the Peel tracks is the early live favourite Norfolk Broads with its Love influenced guitar intro (complete with tempo changes) and Do You Know The Way To San Jose trumpets and ba-ba-ba’s.

Like the Peel Sessions, The Old Grey Whistle Test appearance from April 1983 offers both new tracks and insight into the development of Paleys’ classics. Hey There Fred sees its first ever release on this Cd. The band played this track along with (There’s Always) Something On My Mind and Louisiana on a Janice Long Session which was broadcast on May 14, 1983. Because of the BBC’s loss of that session this recording from The Old Grey Whistle Test is the only available documentation of the song that would transform into These Are The Things on 1985’s From Across The Kitchen Table. The OGWT version of “Palm Of My Hand” minus the lush orchestration and production of the familiar released version is truer to Michael’s original vision for the song.

Michael felt that the production on the released version robbed the song of its vitality. Free, a cover of the 1976 US hit for soul-diva Deniece Williams, fits the Paleys perfectly. Michael’s vocals are extraordinary. Many of the wonderful vocal turns that he regularily let loose in Pale Fountains songs had their roots in classic soul of the sixties and seventies. Longshot also includes the Paleys version of We Have All The Time In The World. This rarity was recorded in Brussels in 1982 for a Crepuscule soundtrack tribute entitled Moving Soundtracks Vol. 1. A John Barry composition, it was originally performed by Louis Armstrong for the soundtrack of 007’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969). This cover version – produced by Tuxedomoon’s Blaine L Reininger – was an obvious choice for the Paleys as both John Barry and movie soundtracks of the fifties and sixties were constantly referred to by the band in inter views and in their music. Michael even wanted the b-side to Thank You – Meadow of Love (with its The Man With The Golden Gun inspired trumpet) – to be put forward as a possible Bond theme. His love of British films like Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (1961) starring Albert Finney would become even more prominent by the time of Pacific Street (Finney’s character in that movie Arthur Seaton is thanked on the sleeve notes).

By the time of the eventual release of Pacific Street, the Paleys were already moving in a slightly different direction. Live appearances promoting the album leaned toward new material that was to form the nucleus of the second Virgin full-length album From Across The Kitchen Table which appeared very quickly (by Michael Head standards) in February 1989. The departure of Andy Diagram, and the more prominent role of Michael’s brother .John Head’s guitar moved the Paleys toward a harder edged sound that had been hinted at with songs like Natural and Start A War on Pacific Street

Love Situation appearing for the first time on cd on this compilation was an early indication that the Paleys’ sound was evolving. Released in March 1984, this long lost Paleys classic was the b-side of the (Don’t Let Your Love) Start A War single. It is a nod in the direction of the more guitar based, harder sound that Michael would embrace on .. From Across The Kitchen Table and subsequent recordings. The vocals are deeper, armost throaty, Andy’s trumpet is gone and John Head’s guitar takes up the slack.

One cannot underestimate Andy Diagram’s contribution to the overall ‘feel’ that characterized the band’s early records. When Andy left the band after Pacific Steet it marked a definite change in the band’s sound – and emphasized the direction the band were heading. Michael Head explained Andy’s departure this way: “Andy was playing keyboards, a bit of guitar, and singing as well as playing trumpet, and one day he just turned around and said, ‘I’m not into this, I love trumpet, Miles Davis and of that, and that’s what I want to play’. So we had this long talk, and I was saying how I didn’t want to get into a situation like Spandau Ballet where you’re waiting for the sax solo half-way through the song, and I thought that’s the way we were getting – waiting for the trumpet solo. And he understood that, so one day he just decided to leave.” (Jamming, 1984). The band’s influences remained classic – but instead of John Barry, Burt Bacharach and mid-period Love dominating the Paleys sound, the slightly rougher mix of “The Notorious Byrd Brothers” folk, and Merseybeat began to take over. Early press that compared The Pale Fountains to The Beatles – only because they were from Liverpool – might have made more sense now on a strictly musical level. Liverpool, detectable only in Michael’s accent thus far in the Paleys career, became a more noticeable influence in Head’s writing style (and remains so). Still, despite the changes, a reviewer for The Melody Maker called ..From Across The Kitchen Table, “the first great album of 1985″

Critical success, however, wasn’t enough to save the band. With the continued absence of any hits, the Pale Fountains/Virgin partnership dissolved by 1986. Two final From Across The Kitchen Table singles were released. One a very rare double 7′ set with a previously unavailable version of Just A Girl – included on this compilation. Although actually recorded in September 1982 with full orchestra, this obscure version of the Paleys’ first single was only released in June 1985. Robin Millar, who produced this version, was the producer of choice for many of the eighties bossa nova revival bands. He produced Weekend, Everything But The Girl, and later in the eighties, Sade. The band had come full circle – ending their career with the same song that began it.

Since 1985 only 3 albums of new Michael Head material have been released. Under the new moniker Shack, Michael released Zilch on Dick Leahy’s Ghetto label in 1988. Waterpistol, Shack’s legendary lost album recorded in 1991, was rescued from the Ghetto vaults (amidst rumours of the master tapes being lost in a fire and the producer’s DAT version being left in a rental car in America) and released by Marina in 1995. Vox magazine described it accurately as. “some of the most outstanding, honest music that’s been made this decade”. Al’s Vacation, one of Michael Head’s all time greatest compositions (and a very rare single from 1991) was re-issued on cd by Marina on their 1996 compilation In Bed With Marina (ma 21).  1997 saw Michael’s most recent recordings, The Magical World Of The Strands (the sessions actually took place in 1995) released by an independent French label under another new name – Michael Head (Introducing The Strands).

And now this: Longshot For Your Love – more than even the most optimistic Mick Head fan could have ever hoped for. To actually have these recordings at one’s finger tips is almost surreal. Songs that have only been referred to by Paleys fans in the most reverential and hushed tones are now available. They do not disappoint. Timeless pop songs never do.

Eric Mason, February, 1998

 

The Last Summer Of Love
In 1982 I was living with a group of friends in a ramshackle terraced house in Beck Road, Hackney, and making the long daily tube journey across town to Ladbroke Grove, where I worked in Rough Trade’s distribution department. I was finding my employment unromantic; I wanted to be in on the artistic, rather than the commercial side of things, and was much more interested in hanging out with the various representatives of Factory, Postcard. and Les Disques Du Crepuscule who wandered into the club that was the Rough Trade building.

I’d met Michel Duval, who ran Crepuscule, two years previously, and in January 1982, he proposed I set up an English version of the label. Operation Twilight was officially born on 17 March – St Patrick’s Day. In retrospect, it is ominous that our venture began at the same time as the Falklands War: both quixotic adventures, though one more deadly than the other. The company cast included my Beck Road housemate, Dave Baker, who became OT house designer Madeleine Groves took up promotion, Rachel Rooney, her cousin, became ‘accountant’; and Rob Holden and his motorbike provided useful courier facilities while his aptitude for hedonism set the tone for Twilight staff outings. Madeleine and Rachel lived opposite us in Beck Road with Jim Thirlwell (of ‘Foetus On Your Breath’ fame) and Gareth (manager of Microdisney, who once wrote a song. Patrick Moore Says You Cant Sleep Here. Further down the road lived Genesis P. Orridge and his young wife Paula; while round the corner lived 23 Skidoo. Later that year Roddy Frame of Aztec Camera would move into our house. It was Coronation Street indieland, an alternative soap opera with picnics on the street, midnight crossings, and a great deal of intoxication.

lan Home, Richard Kirk, John Foxx and Richard Jobson agreed to be share holders in the company, together with Michel and Michael Shamberg, his American partner; I became managing director. Our first releases comprised a single from Paul Haig, Running Away, and an album by Tuxedomoon, Divine; we also tried to release albums by Virginia Astley and the Jazzateers, but lack of money defeated us. But everything changed when the OT crew descended into the basement of a hotel on Baker Street to see a group supporting Dislocation Dance. In the tacky mirrored glass cellar ballroom which masqueraded as the Barracuda Club, five Scouse lads shuffled on to do their set. They all looked so young; they also looked a little like us (we became like each other that summer), and they had a great name: The Pale Fountains. They wore shorts and scout hats and sang a version of Walk On By as well as some rather groovy tunes of their own. We thought they were fantastic. I introduced myself and suggested that they record a single for OT. They were enthusiastic – my diary remarks: “lead singer v. sweet”

On 16 May Michael Head met Madeleine and I at Lime St station, and we drove to Chris McCaffrey’s house, a Liverpool terrace not unlike Beck Road. We were taken down to the cellar, where the group had set up a makeshift rehearsal room. The Pale Fountains ran through their set for our sole benefit; I took photos and Chris’s Mum made us sandwiches. We discussed the proposed single, and the idea that it could be produced by Alan Home or Edwyn Collins. At that time the Paleys (as they were known in Liverpool, where everything is thus abbreviated) were being managed by Nathan McGough. Son of poet Roger McGough and percussionist with the band, he had the aura of Factory about him (I was told he’d originated the short and-sides haircut which Factory bands like ACR sported). We were introduced to the Paleys’ haunts: the Philharmonic, a Victorian pub, the Casablanca nightclub – ’someone’s converted and very full home’ – and the Everyman Bistro, a wine bar which had become the hangout for Liverpool bands, stacked wall-to-wall with Bunnymen, Teardrops, Wah!s, and the shadowy impresario figure of Bill Drummond.

The next day, 17 May, OT paid for the Paleys to record three tracks in a local studio: Always On My Mind, Just A Girl, and Lavinia’s Dream. It needed remixing, so on 2 June we returned to Liverpool to socialise with our new friends and journey to Manchester – Liverpool’s rival indie city – to mix at Pluto Studios. Extra violin, piano and percussion tracks were added; the songs were starting to sound like masterpieces to our ears. We began to plan ‘Twilight Concerts’ to showcase our new recording artists. Badgered by Mad and Rob, the promotional terrorists of OT, the NME ran an article on Operation Twilight, as did The Face. Then John Peel had played the Pale Fountains test pressing we’d sent him. By July Record Mirror were running a piece on the band, and the John Peel Show were ringing up to invite the band to record a session.
On the 19th, the Paleys arrived in Beck Road en masse, visited our local barbers, then set off for Studio 4 at BBC’s Lime Grove. By now Andy Diagram was on semi-permanent secondment from the Diagram Brothers to blow his trumpet for the band. The session went well (tracks 3 – 6 on this cd). The next day, after playing football in the street, we drove down to the Venue in Victoria where the Paleys were to perform their second London concert. That night the place was full of indie luminaries including Richard Jobson, Johnny Fingers, Scritti Politti and Aztec Camera. The band – introduced by a nervous, newly-cropped Rachel – played an emotional set, encoring with Walk On By.

Yet the Paleys’ single was only just out – partly as a result of the intricate (and very expensive) star-embossed sleeve we had designed. I tried to persuade Rough Trade to engage a plugger to help the single up the charts. The industry was beginning to take notice – so much so that when Mad told me Nathan had rung up to say EMI had offered the band a £20,000 contract, I took it seriously – only to discover it was one of the Paleys’ pranks. It was, however, a prescient joke: already the sharks were beginning to professionalism to realise their dream. On 9 September they played The Hacienda – vaguely enemy territory. But Manchester loved the Paleys; Tony Wilson came back to congratulate them, and New Order’s manager Rob Gretton invited them to play Futurama – above his own band, I recorded incredulously.
The Paleys played the ICA on 11 September – by which time their fans included one Patsy Kensit who was much attracted to Mike. Two days later we decamped to Hampton Court, the Tudor royal palace just outside London, where Christina Birror, the talented American photographer, did a day-long session with the band. They posed on boats and trees, borrowed passers by’s bicycles, and rowed punts on the river – where we all duly fell in, and returned home soaked. The next day Geoff Travis introduced us to Robin Millar at the Power Plant studios, whew it was proposed the next single should be recorded. Impressive stuff, but the tensions of possible signing were beginning to show. We’d already done a one-off licensing deal for the first single with Chappell; now Dick Leahy invited the band into their offices decorated with original Warhols and evidence of other signings: The Jam, Haircut 100 and Whaml.

On 17 September, the band went into Power Plant to record Just A Girl, Thank You and Meadow of Love – complete with a full orchestra and the legendary Herbie Flowers. Meanwhile Rough Trade offered a two album, four single deal; Alan Home advised us not to sign the contract. WEA were also hot on the band’s trail. The band played The Venue again on 23 September, but by then the strain of big business had introduced a similar strain between myself and the band. The honeymoon was over, and the relationship couldn’t survive in the big bad world. The Paleys delivered an ultimatum: I could either be their manager, or director of OT; but not both. It was an impossible choice. They took on a ‘young and hard’ girl (as my diary notes) called Pam and signed to Virgin for £130,000.

But before that, there was a brief flare of the old spirit when the band and I flew to Brussels to play a Crepuscule mini- tour suitably entitled Move Back, Bite Harder. We stayed in a hotel in the city centre and drank a lot and had nightly pillow fights. Isabel from Antena joined the band on backing vocals for a version of Scarborough Fair, a song so sweet it provoked violence from a group of hardcore punks who’d come along to see Cabaret Voltaire. On 4 October the band recorded We Have All The Time In The World for a Crepuscule movie soundtrack album, then we drove into the country to Benoit Hennebert’s farmhouse. Hennebert, the gentle genius of Crepuscule design, showed us his beautiful artwork and huge record collection, and the band cycled off down country lanes, looking rural and happy and free from the cares of London.

Back in England, our ways parted for good. The Paleys went on to record more material for Virgin, but never quite achieved the success they deserved; and I was upset to hear, some years later, of Chris McCaffrey’s sudden death. Operation Twilight’s shooting star burned out after releasing records by The French Impressionists, Mikado, 23 Skidoo, The Lost Jockey and Ralph Därper. Dave Baker went on to design Phil Collins sleeves. Madeleine Groves became a qualified botanist; Rachel Rooney married Phil Hartnoll of Orbital, and the band are managed by Rob Holden; he and Claire now live in Clapham with their three daughters. And I became a writer, under the name of Philip Hoare and have published three books, on Stephen Tennant. Noel Coward and the legacy of Oscar Wilde.

Digging up the past is unsettling; perhaps the dust, as Quentin Crisp advises, should be left to lie. But it can be an instructive, illuminating process; it can help us to understand why we are where we are now. Now, fifteen years later, Marina invite us all to look back at the optimistic world of the early 80’s. And there couldn’t be a better band than The Pale Fountains to provide a whimsical, beautiful pop soundtrack to that lost decade.

Patrick Moore Shoreditch, February 1998

INFORMATION

Established in 1998, Shacknet is an independent website dedicated to the music of Shack & The Pale Fountains.

The website is entirely funded by the generosity of its subscribers.

If you've got any information, cuttings, photos, films, recordings then we'd love to hear from you.

Shacknet also has a Facebook group. You can sign up here.
 
 

LISTEN TO SHACK

 

 

 

 

 
 
 

Zilch (1988)
1. Emergency (listen)
2. Someone’s Knocking (listen)
3. John Kline (listen)
4. I Need You (listen)
5. Realization (listen)
6. High Rise Low Life (listen)
7. Who Killed Clayton Square? (listen)
8. Who’d Believe It? (listen)
9. What’s It Like… (listen)
10. The Believers (listen)