Obviously a lot of love and attention had gone into this.
You know, buying things for a pound can be quite rewarding; (well, apart from those felt covered self adhesive nodding dogs). And, (because, kids, its true-ism time), know something else; always judge an album by its cover. Which is exactly what I did when I spent time, (probably waiting for a bus), in Manchester's Vinyl exchange somewhere in 1997.
Shit; there, amongst all the bland plastic cd folders, (always depressingly smudged with the word "Promo not for resale") was this gorgeous box covered in pink, black red yellow and green swirls. Encased in a big red blob on the back there were song titles.One of which, All Atoms are Engaged to Get Married, immediately held my attention. There was also a name. It said Family of God. On closer inspection, the record label had a picture of some chap from the 1950s standing next to his box gramophone. The record label was Ochre (I'd never heard of it but at least it was independent), and the recording was, (and I quote), "licensed from Dull Recordings". That did it. How dull? I had to buy it.
Funnily enough, I took it home and forgot about it for a week. It wasn't until my flat-mate, Mr. Keane, started nagging me to listen to what he had on in the kitchen, (Joe always cooked to music), that I heard it. And that was that. I skipped back to the beginning of the first cd and got a beer. Right from the start it hit me that this was a LOST MAGICAL CLASSIC. I mean, there was no vibe around this record, I'd just liked the artwork. Talk about possibly the best, most diverse record of the mid nineties, (a decade if you remember that always trumpeted its own diversity & irony blah blah); actually I'm being unfair; it was far more important than that. This record screamed intelligence. Right from the opening track Goodnight Piccadilly, a sort of Barry Adamson detective affaire through the weird kids' homily to Gawd on Family of God, through the Carnaby Street strut of You Miserable English Creep the first cd was a KNOWING riot. And, Fantastic! It was a double cd set. Obviously a lot of love and attention had gone into this. I checked out the notes; (and because it was a promo there was lots of bumpf to play with), and noticed the name Adam Peters. Now, children, Adam Peters arranged strings for Thee most Headbanging of all bands; Echo & The Bunnymen. And he'd helped to create this with Chris Brick! Bloody hell.
Anyway, the following weeks were filled with this album. I mean, it has everything; moog versions of Smells like Teen Spirit, (I like to live in) America, and the Listen with Mother theme tune ferfuckssake. Fantastic Fall like rants such as All Atoms.. vied for my affections with weird sci-fi tracks such as Why Gogo up There?. Not to mention the off the cuff lunatic declamations of shelebrities in Babble. Hell, I tell you, I must have nagged East Lancashire stupid about this album. And, for once, all my mates (not, I hasten to add that I'm mates with all of East Lancs.), listened to me. That's a rare event.
I've got one more story about this LP. Last year me and the editor went to see that most Headbanging of bands, Echo and the Bunnymen, in the Paradiso. Well, after the show, I decided to bring a tense 15 year wait to an end, and ask for some autographs. Somehow, we got back stage, and into the dressing room. I waited. And waited. You know, people should be warned that standing around waiting for an autograph is a long arduous affair, especially when you've GOT it, cos really, there's very little else to say. But hell, the Bunnymen were my favourite band of all time, and I guessed 5 minutes of talking to Will Sergeant had better last me a lifetime. So I burbled out what my fave records were, including, yes, The Family of God. And the next thing I know is that Will is talking animatedly about the same record. (Apparently, there a vault of unsold Family of God lps at Ochre. BUY THEM CHILDREN, BUY THEM). The next thing I know, the greatest guitarist of his generation has consented to come to the pub with Incendiary magazine.
And that's the real difference between good and bad music.
Family of God; Family of God (1996) was released on Ochre Records (OCH 004 LCD) www.ochre.co.uk.