Cud - Rich and Strange, The Anthology

It's the familiar You Sexy Thing cover that starts it all off, obviously hoping to reel other people in the way that I was all those years ago.

 

 

Rich and Strange, The Anthology

 

Leeds has a crop of bands that are currently darlings of the music scene. Forward Russia And the inescapable Kaiser Chiefs spring to mind. But, at the vinegar strokes of the 80's there was also a Leeds scene. Everyone will have heard of The Wedding Present, but there was also Cud.

 

I first heard Cud on the BBC's John Peel show, when they were in session, a session that included a manic cover of Hot Chocolate's You Sexy Thing. I was hooked. For a few years they were the perfect band to get drunk too and leap around. They were fun, but not too stretching. They developed from album to album, switching to a major label after a couple. Eventually they seemed to reach a glass ceiling, or run out of creative juices, and band tensions saw them split. I had moved on. To tell the truth, I hadn't much cared for their output for a while and I was happier to see a line drawn under them, in case they corrupted my early memories of them.

 

Almost 15 years later we're given this. Two CDs, one covering their "indie" years (Peel sessions and tracks released on the Wedding Present's Imaginary label), and one with the cream of the major (A&M) recordings. It also has a few unreleased tracks thrown in for good measure.

 

Now you know my personal history vis a vis Cud, you can understand that it is with mixed feelings I pop in the first CD. It's the familiar You Sexy Thing cover that starts it all off, obviously hoping to reel other people in the way that I was all those years ago. It's still fun and manic. There are a couple more of Cud's kooky covers: Living in the Past (Jethro Tull) and Lola (Kinks), but sadly there's also a couple missing (Urban Spaceman and Bohemian Rhapsody). The ones that are here remind me just why I like a twisted cover version to this day.

 

The first two thirds of this CD showcase the rawer, purer Cud, the Cud that I loved. They're taken from early singles and the first LP, When in Rome, Kill Me. I could hear any of these tracks whenever I wanted to (as I have them all on old fashioned vinyl), but it's good to finally have them on CD. They do sound a little different. I guess the preferred word is 'clearer', but think it sounds 'cleaner'. Perhaps not such a good thing? The final third is Leggy Mambo era Cud. There's a couple of stompers; (Hey!Wire, Eau Water), a dash of funk (Robinson Crusoe) and a fair few sexy love songs showing the band stretching their song writing muscle.

 

For me, the second CD reinforces my concerns. The songs are undoubtedly better produced, maybe even better crafted, but there's something missing. There are still a couple of stand-out tracks: Purple Love Balloon and One Giant Love. A lot of the rest just doesn't do it for me, but it may for you. The unreleased tracks are nothing to write home about: they all belong in A&M years. Apollo is probably the most interesting of these, lyrically at least. I'm not sure how, but I know The Dream is Killing Me from somewhere (maybe they were playing it on there last tour)? 

 

Still, despite the (personal) reservations, I hope you give Rich and Strange a listen, because although the Cud boys might be strange, I'm pretty sure that they aren't rich and a few euros chucked their way would be gratefully accepted. I'd be surprised if you didn't find at least a few tracks here that will make you smile and have you grooving in your bedroom.