Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Record Collection Random Choice (RCRC) - B

I have decided that these posts need a snappy title.
If I am to produce 26 highly interesting, informative critiques of albums nestling in the collection, then they need to be done under a specific banner.
As it goes, I couldn't think of a snappy title so went with the rubbish banner you see above.

And so to the letter B.
Lets see what we have this time.
What? No! Do I have to?
I could just cheat I suppose.
No, that wouldn't be right, and would compromise the randomness.

The randomiser was lucky last time out.  But now, as if to prove that this is a completely random selection, the gods of chance (devil?) has sent me to the lower end of the B section, and I now have to summon enthusiasm to spout forth on the era defining debut album by ... Bucks Fizz

Bucks Fizz were formed in late 1980 by Andy Hill and Nichola Martin to perform their song in the Eurovision heats A Song For Europe.
The group followed the ABBA model (ie 2 girls and 2 boys).  Mike Nolan was the first to be recruited, followed soon after by Cheryl Baker (who had previous Eurovision experience as part of Co-Co in 1978.
Open auditions brought Bobby G and Jay Aston to the line-up - Bobby G was second choice after original "second male" Stephen Fischer was unable to take up the offer.

Eurovision trivia tangent - Stephen Fischer would return to Eurovision in 1982 as one half of Bardo.  The other half was Sally-Ann Triplet, who had previously performed with Prima Donna at the 1980 contest.  Prima Donna also included Lance Aston, brother of Jay

They recorded the Hill/Martin tune "Making Your Mind Up", and won the Song For Europe contest.
This was released as a single in preparation for the main event in Dublin the following month.
Bucks Fizz won the contest, and the single went to Number 1 in the UK, and most other European countries.
Knowing they were obviously onto a good thing, a second single "Piece Of The Action" was released as "Making Your Mind Up" was leaving the charts.
The debut album followed 6 weeks later, and a third single ("One Of Those Nights") released in August.

The album contained the 3 singles plus 7 other original tracks (mostly written by Andy Hill and Nichola Martin).
To be totally honest, there is nothing here of any great musical innovation or enduring influence.  But then again, this is happy-clappy MOR Pop, and does exactly what you expect of it.
In the course of research, I had to listen to the album - it is not something I want to repeat.  No-one got hurt, but I was getting some funny looks from my wife.
It just sort of exists like background noise (and no, that does not make it an Ambient album to rank alongside Brian Eno or The Orb).

It achieved a Top 20 placing and was certified Gold with in excess of 100,000 sales - not at all bad for a manufactured band designed to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest, and then like many others before, disappear from view after their first single.
Marketing, Talent or "Right Place, Right Time" - you decide?

Of interest (possibly?) is the name appearing as writer of two of the tracks - Pete Sinfield.
A name more commonly associated with King Crimson.
Is it possible that closing track "The Right Situation" is a departure from formula and a Prog Rock epic in 3 movements?


No more singles were released from the album as focus moved to recording the second album, and the first new single "Land Of Make Believe" was released in November.
Another Pete Sinfield co-write, and one that will stop you listening to "In The Court Of The Crimson King" in quite the same way again.

The rusted chains of prison moons
Are shattered by the sun
I walk a road, horizons change
The tournament's begun
The purple piper plays his tune,
The choir softly sing;
Three lullabies in an ancient tongue,
For the court of the crimson king

Shadows, tapping at your window 
Ghostly voices whisper will you come and play 
Not for all the tea in China 
Or the corn in Carolina 
Never, never ever 
They're running after you babe
Run for the sun, little one 
You're an outlaw once again 
Time to change, Superman 
He'll be with us while he can 
In the land of make believe

in 10 years?
Well, you have to pay the rent.  And admittedly, there is a certain ghostly progginess to that verse (or is it just me?)

I was rather hoping to find a heavily rocked up/punked up version of "Making Your Mind Up" to sign off with (and at least regain some of my ROCK credentials)
Alas, no such (commercially available) cover version exists.
What I did find though was a German re-recording, with revised lyrics that was used in a German Song Contest in the same year as Bucks Fizz Eurovision win.

Maggie Mae - Rock n Roll Cowboy


  1. AC/DC followed by Bucks Fizz - that's what I call eclectic!

  2. Bucks Fizz may well have been the first band I noticed all by myself. I was 8. I think that dance routine may well have been the first time I noticed something else as well.

    The Land Of Make Believe is probably their best song. The Camera Never Lies comes a close second. Making Your Mind Up was saved by the dance.

    This is my kind of feature - completely shameless!