Four months after the sumptuous sonic showcase that is A Secret Wish was released
in 1985 to become the most successful album in the Propaganda canon, it was joined on the shelves of record stores by Wishful Thinking, which featured radical re-inventions of the tracks by Paul Morley and Bob Kraushaar. Now remastered, repackaged and expanded with the eight original ‘disturbances’ joined by five previously unreleased ‘deviations’, Wishful Thinking differs considerably from A Secret Wish, with complex, electronic departures which provide a thoughtful and powerful alternative vision of familiar tracks like Dr. Mabuse, P.Machinery and Duel. The album is presented in triple gatefold ‘mini- vinyl’ packaging, with extensive new liner notes and expanded artwork.
VARIOUS • Dreamboats And Petticoats: Three Steps To Heaven(Universal/EMI TV 5338568)
One of the most successful and unexpected album franchises developed in the
last five years, the rock’n’roll nostalgia series Dreamboats And Petticoats has thus far generated well in excess of 2.5m sales and spun off a successful musical. The latest in the series, Three Steps To Heaven, comprises only pre-Beatles male acts but is none the weaker for that, with 50 blockbuster tracks from the rock ‘n’ roll era, including classic recordings by Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard & The Shadows, Billy Fury, Buddy Holly & The Crickets and The Everly Brothers. With an average playing time of less than two and a half minutes, the tracks are models of economy: melodic, succinct and never outstaying their welcome. In a complicated world,
their very simplicity and durability are welcome. The evocative cover picture features the late Billy Fury, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran and Adam Faith, alongside the still living Joe Brown, Marty Wilde and Jess Conrad - who came up with the concept, and the title, reasoning that is is “only three short steps for me, Marty and Joe before we join the other lads in Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven.”
VARIOUS • 3/60: Legends Of Soul (Crimson CRIM 360015)/ 3/60: Northern Soul (CRIM 360013)
Bringing to 15 the number of releases in the series since its launch last July, all
3/60 branded albums live up to their name by featuring 60 recordings spread across three CDs. Generally selling for around £6, they are both inexpensive and popular, with an 80s compilation already selling upwards of 15,000
copies, with several others shifting upwards of 10,000 units. The Northern Soul compilation is a perfect primer for the genre, with more widely known recordings like The Snake by Al Wilson, Blame It On The Pony Express by Johnny Johnson & The Bandwagon and Young-Holt Unlimited’s uplifting instrumental California Montage punctuating lesser known but equally worthy cuts. Legends Of Soul is also well worth the average cost of less than 10p per track, with The Chi-Lites’ Homely Girl, Jackie Wilson’s Reet Petite and Bobby Womack’s powerful re- interpretation of California Dreaming among the standouts. My only (minor) criticism is that there is no Motown, and maybe a little too much of Holland/Dozier/Holland’s Invictus/Westbound labels.
FRANCE GALL • Made In France: France Gall’s Baby Pop (RPM International RETRO 909)
Not the most vocally gifted or
technically correct of the legions of French ye-ye singers who flourished in the
1960s but one of the most enigmatic, France Gall’s 1963- 1968 output for the Phillips label is distilled into an intriguing and very enjoyable album. Unlike most of her contemporaries, who were primarily recording French- language versions of popular British and American songs, Gall was supplied with rather more appropriate and tailored homegrown material, much of it written especially for her by Serge Gainsbourg, whose twist on 1960s contemporary was... different. That’s not to say it was inaccessible - quite the opposite at times, as opening track Poupee De Cire, Poupee De Son, which won the Eurovision song contest in 1965 representing Luxembourg, proves - but Teenie Weenie Boppie is about LSD and Les Sucettes subversively suggests oral sex.