Friday, 3 December 2010

Bigger than the Beatles - The Painted Word

It's been a a while since I did a Bigger Than the Beatles post. This time it is the turn of the Painted Word, the recording name of Alan McCusker - Thompson. In 1986 on mother records (u2's label) they released I Found Love Today a perfect bit of pop which along with Bourgie Bourgie's Breaking Point is one of the lost great singles of the 80s. I was going to include it as a monday moment with its repeated refrain of "up the ladder to the roof" but thought I'd post a couple more tracks as well.

Over a 3 year period they released a number of singles/eps and one lp Lovelife which was full of smooth sophisticated pop music with a real classic feel (streets ahead of coffee table dinner party music that people like Simply Red were churning out). I had a couple of the singles but the joys of the Internet meant that I eventually years later managed to track down the lp. Then there was nothing and I just assumed they had been another one lp act lost to whims of a major label.

Then out of the blue in 1995 I stumbled across a newly released 2nd lp, "Universal". It seemed to disappear as soon as it arrived and now goes for silly money on ebay. The songs are more melancholic and as a whole the lp reminds me a bit of Blue Nile cc Hats.

Since then silence again

I Found Love Today - The Painted Word

Worldwide - The Painted Word

Universal - The Painted Word


  1. Blimey, this brings back memories:
    When I first came to London I was signed to publishers Zomba (in Willesden Green) with the band that went on to form Miracle Mile.
    Mark Fox was our A&R man, a top man. He was ex Haircut 100 and put us in touch with Les (Bass) and Phil (sax) From the Haicuts who played on early demos and became part of the MM live band.
    Happy days.
    One of Mark's jobs was to spot new talent, but particularly, to find songs.
    We had similar taste in music and he'd toss me the occasional C90 cassette with his monthly fav's. I recently found one of these in my attic, which was an interesting listen: an early version of 'Dignity' by Deacon Blue, some Wet Wet Wet demos (surprisingly good) a great track by a band called The Montellas, the original songwriter's demo of " Want to Dance With Somebody' (which went on to become the best selling single of all time).
    Mark turned them all down.
    He's probably selling VWs somewhere in South London now...
    Also on the tape was 'Worldwide' and I remember loving it and tried to track the band down (pre Google) without much luck. I remember thinking it sounded like Nick Heyward with a cold... like something from his (still surprisingly fresh sounding) debut solo album 'North of a Miracle'.
    You can buy Lovelife on Amazon for £80. It comes with this enthusiatic review from Italy:
    "This is a great album of the 80s. Well written, played and produced, all the songs are well above the average of its time.
    The single Worldwide probably stands out as the most catchy tune, but many other songs are worth the price of admission, like Joie De Vivre or I Want It Here And I Want It Now.
    Sadly, 4 cd-single only tracks are not available here, but they maintain the same level of the main album tracks. Maybe a rightly-deserved reissue of this long lost and out of print title will include them as well.
    01 That's The Reason I'm Alive
    02 Lovelife
    03 Wilderness
    04 Frances
    05 Joie De Vivre
    06 24 Hours
    07 Worldwide
    08 I Want It Here And I Want It Now
    09 '77
    10 The Pleaseure Inside
    The 4 non album tracks are:
    11 This Is Going To Be My World
    12 Perfect Timing
    13 I Found Love Today
    14 My Darkest Hour

    By the way Steve, I note your love of The Daintees.
    Have you heard any Pete Molinari?
    Try 'For Eliza'.
    A living dead ringer!
    PS: 'Living Dead Ringers' might be a good new section for your excellent pages.
    Try Steve Adey and 'Find the Way' which sounds just like Blue Nile...

  2. Sorry to call you 'Steve' Dave.
    I had 'Steve Adey' on my mind...

  3. Cheers Trev - I often wondered how you ended up with a couple of haircuts on the Bicycle Thieves. Mark Fox immortalised by the fact that he mimes the "airline calls" or something bit of love plus one on Top of the Pops

    The version you list is the one I have although I must have got a bargain as it was nwhere near £80. Pete Molinari rings a bell (maybe because he sounds like a soap opera character) but I'll give him a go and Steve Adey.

    I think Cherry Red have just rereleased north of a miracle (I still love whistle down the wind) as well the later from monday to sunday which is worth checking out

    Biggest listen likey from this year is def Norther Portrait and the smiths!

  4. I'm doing the usual 'Best of the Year' for friends and will post it soon.
    Do you do similar?
    Don't know Northern Portrait but will have a look.
    The Smiths were a bit band for me (Hatful of Hollow a permanent fixture on my ancient Dancette) Ring Around the Fountain and This Charming Man still ring true. I think that the lightness of Marr's guitar lines the perfect foil for Mozza. To me, he sounds thick tongued without him...
    Mark Fox was briefly lead singer with the Haircuts when Nick jumped ship. I've heard the demos; the follow up to Pelican West was basically in the can but for vocals, and sounding great; Talking Heads meets The Monkees. It would have been a great album with Nick's vocals. Shame for the band as they were about to reap the benefits...

  5. I think that 'Living Dead Ringers' has another candidate with Northern Portrait. Nowt wrong with being influenced; there's very little that's truly original; we're all part of a grand collaboration, I say.
    It's the Smiths meets The Monkees, big and bright and beautiful.
    I think I like it.
    Let's hope it gets youngsters (!) reaching into their parents' vinyl collections for 'Hatful..' etc..

  6. love the phrase think tongued!
    I have the ongoing arguement with a mzza fan about he now only surrounds himself with co -writers less talented than he is. When he doesnt - marr , vini reilly , stephen street it ends in tears. (it is one of those pub arguments that doesnt really stand up and tends to fall apart on the first challenge)

  7. Forgot to say just done my top 10 for the year - I'm lots of posts set up so I don't think it is due until near the end of december

  8. thanks for this scorcher!!!!!!!!!
    can you upload the whole album "universal"?

    check for more painted word

  9. Cheers Monomod - I'll do a post with the lp in the new year

  10. If you can't wait until the new year - try the great fade to grey blog


Leave a comment and let me know what you are listening to.