May 232012

Further to the thread the other day about losing, borrowing, stealing, and doing all sorts of other things to favourite records, I found myself humming this as I was stuck at the traffic lights on way to work the other day, as I’ve been wont to do for the last 23 years, and musing that I’ve never been able to buy it as I’ve never even seen a copy. I even collared their drummer at a gig once and asked if he knew where I might be able to find a copy and he had no idea either.

Apart from John Peel playing their records at every opportunity, Bob made about as little impression on the pop world as it was possible to get away with but still keep going for a few years, and they were my favourite band. I went to see them whenever they played anywhere within about a 30-mile radius (I’m talking about British roads here), we booked them to play at our local community centre, and I own all of their records except this one. And they are almost all as good as this one, which made number 31 in John Peel’s Festive Fifty (as nominated and voted for by his listeners)—which was about the closest they ever got to recognition.

One of my greatest fanboy experiences was bumping into them at the bar at the Town and Country Club (as it was called then) at a Julian Cope gig and missing the first 2 songs of the second half of the show through being engrossed in conversation with them. I practically had to go and lie down when Dean, their drummer, recognised me and stopped for a chat in the Cabaret tent at Glastonbury a couple of years later.

So, in an attempt to feel less alone, I have two questions for the Hall:

  1. Is there a record you would like to own that you have just never managed to find? (I’m talking about one that you’d actually play and listen to, not just for being ridiculously valuable.)
  2. Have you ever followed a band whose talent it feels/felt that no-one but you and about 3 other people have been able to recognise? (Getting above number 30 in any chart of any description counts as success, particularly if it involves record sales).

  15 Responses to “I saw the future and its name was…BOB”

  1. Slim Jade

    Yes on both counts:

    1. I’ve got many “holy grails” that I search out whenever I’m in a record store. Problem is, I get so much sensory overload, amnesia sets in, and I can’t for the life of me remember what I’ve spent years searching for. The first of these treasures that comes to mind is “Link Wray’s Three Track Shack”. I’ve never even heard it, but I’m intrigued by the notion of the great guitarist recording a lo-fi funky country album. I make a habit of perusing the W disc separators.

    2. I have never met anyone familiar with Dif Juz. This band were part of the 4ad stable, and they were very hard to define. Sometimes dubby, sometimes jazzy, with close ties to Cocteau Twins and The Jesus and Mary Chain, and they were ten years ahead of Tortoise. This piece makes me swoon:

  2. Good questions, Stan. As I said recently, there was one Ornette Coleman album that appeared on Impulse sometime in the ’60s that I saw once but couldn’t spring for at the time. I’ve never seen it again. Last time I checked I didn’t see it reissued on CD. If I ever do see a vinyl I may buy it. There’s something about the bridge from Coleman to John Coltrane, the first two jazz guys I ever liked, that always appealed to me. I’m still excited to own the Coltrane-Don Cherry album, for instance, simply because of the link it holds.

    As for your second question, these days I’ve got you lot to step forward and join me in loving some band I thought only my friends and I loved – or that I loved all by myself. In the US I feel I’m still the person who most dug the early ’90s Dutch band Darryl-Ann. I still listen to the couple of albums I own by them. I think they continue to mean nothing to anyone I know in the States. They did appear on MTV’s Most Wanted with Ray Cokes in Europe (which is where I first saw them), so they must have had some popularity over there.

  3. saturnismine


    In answer to question number 2: I thought the Stickmen should have been bigger, and I thought that Ruin were going to be the AC/DC of the 80s, but neither happened.

    1. My holy grail story is pretty funny: as a freshman in college someone turned me on to the “Befour Three O’Clock” album: recordings of the earliest iteration of the Three O’Clock, called Salvation Army, I believe. I borrowed the album and then returned it. I could never figure out why its owner gave me the cold shoulder for awhile after that. And I always wished I could find my own copy, sifting through record store bins ceaselessly. I never found one.

    Then, after moving to Savannah, some 25 years later, I rediscovered my vinyl collection. One Sunday morning, I pulled out my copy of The Violent Femme’s “Hallowed Ground,” Which Nancy had been curious about. “Hallowed Ground had been in heavy rotation during the week of the Fall of ’85 when I borrowed “Befour Three O’Clock” album. Lo and behold, when I pulled the disc out of the sleeve, it said “Befour Three O’Clock” on it. Apparently, I had never actually given it back, but had misplaced it, switching it out for Hallowed Ground. Not only does this explain the cold shoulder. It’s also clear that I didn’t really listen to Hallowed Ground *at all* after the Fall of ’85.

  4. 1. I used to have Tonio K.’s Life In the Foodchain, which I bought as a cut-out 8-track. It was a big hit in the neighborhood growing up — my younger brothers’ friends especially got off on all the rage that he put down on the album. I could never find the actual record anywhere in Minnesota or DC. Then one day, a CD came in the mail. One of my brothers buddies had found it and ripped it for all the old neighborhood cronies. That was nice! The slow burner H.A.T.R.E.D. was always a favorite.

    2. There was a band that used to play around Minneapolis called The Crash Stree Kids (not the newer band of the same name from Phoenix). In college, I forced my girlfriend at the time to walk in 15 degree-below weather to see them. She was crying by the time we got there — and we took a cab home. I really liked the album they put out, which was full of little power trio gems like Into You.

    P.S. Like the BOB track — very festive!

  5. diskojoe

    1. I always wanted to get a copy of the Hackamore Brick album. I have one of the songs on a 1985 Rhino Nuggets comp.

    2. I was into the Confederacy of Dunces/John Dunbar for a few years since 1. It was named after my favorite novel & 2. Proclaimed a great Kinks influence. I haven’t heard from him in a few years.

  6. Happiness Stan

    I had a mate who was really, really into Violent Femmes and he lent me Hallowed Ground, and insisted that I went with him to see them, after which I don’t think I ever listened to them again.

    I was rooting through my vinyl about a year ago and found the record still there, filed under H just where I’d left it. Spooky!

  7. Happiness Stan

    Peelie used to play Dif Juz, I don’t remember them clearly, but remember enjoying them well enough. I’ll check out the clip after the kids have gone to bed.

  8. I love that Tonio K. album! I bought it on vinyl not long after it came out (I think WBCN in Boston used to play “Funky Western Civilization”), and “H.A.T.R.E.D.” was my favorite track – I even got into some trouble at school when I tried to use it in a freshman English class assignment…something to do with lyrics about lost love…I got away with using it, but wasn’t allowed to read the lyrics out loud or play the record for the class, which was part of the whole deal…goofy. Anyway, somewhere along the line, I lost the LP and couldn’t find it for years. After 20 years, I finally found it about 6 years ago….on cassette. It only cost a buck or two, so I bought it.

  9. You can get that Link collection pretty easily – It’s a 33 track CD collection of the three albums (‘Link Wray’, ‘Beans & Fatback’ & ‘Mordicai Jones’) he recorded in the shack during the early 70s…it can be had on Amazon for about $20.

  10. Stan – does this mean you file albums by title?

  11. Happiness Stan

    I meant V, obviously, but it’s an interesting idea. I suspect our eldest son would do it like that just to be abstruse.

    I can’t remember the last time I bought a physical item with music on, possibly a Ronnie Lane CD about three years ago, but I was looking for something tonight and had to go through about two hundred CDs just piled up on those spindles you buy CD-Rs on. I used to be far too anally retentive about it, and don’t file things in any sort of order any more.

  12. saturnismine

    Ahh…I thought perhaps you had filed it under “H” by accident, and thus had not come across it in a long time as a result.

    Regarding bying physical items with music on them, I have been compiling a list of vinyls I don’t have that I wish I did have, and have been slowly buying them on e-bay.

    In some cases, they’re albums I know well, but either lost, or became familiar with during a period when I was buying cassettes instead. For example, I never had a copy of Something / Anything. But I got one on ebay, very clean, for 10 bucks.

  13. cliff sovinsanity

    1. I’ve been usuccessful in finding Bowl Full Of Globes, a minor blip on the Canadian pop scene from the early 90’s. The band in question is The Gravelberrys fronted by author/musician/ Paul Myers (brother of Mike Myers). The songs were catchy 3 minute power pop tunes with XTC influences. They had a minor hit with Wonder Where You Are Tonight. A friend loaned me the cd but I never got around to taping it. It has since eluded my used-cd-bin treasure hunts.

  14. cliff sovinsanity

    YES, Crash Street Kids! The album Little Girls could fall into the #1 topic of this post for me. Monday Morning is cracking good.

  15. tonyola

    1. I can’t think of anything lost that I seek out. There are a few scarce albums I’d like to hear like Roy Wood’s Super Active Wizzo but it seems that just about everything I’m interested in is available due to specialists on the internet.

    2. Hey, I’m the resident progster. There are lots of bands I like whose fanbase is seemingly in single digits.

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