Monday, 10 October 2011

Friends Again week

I'm taking a slightly different tact with not another singer songwriter this week, I'm going to focus on 2 singers who combine former lead singer , not another and bigger than the beatles all in one go. This week I'm going to post about James Grant and Chris Thompson.

First off I'll start with the band where it all began - Friends Again.

Formed in Glasgow the band burned brightly for a short while with 5 singles (3 of which sunkissed , honey at the core and state of art released on their own label and are just glorious pop tunes) and one lp - Trapped and Unwrapped

Produced by Bob Sargeant who had more success with Haircut 100, the guitars jangled like Orange Juice and Aztec Camera but put through the mixer with a some country and some funk.

They were hotly tipped by the music press but in band tensions about future direction led them to self combust.

The following from the all music guide sums it up nicely

"While many of their compatriots wrote new wave pop songs propelled by jangling guitars, in Glasgow, Scotland's Friends Again distinguished themselves from their peers by combining '60s-influenced rock with funk, R&B, and country. Featuring Chris Thompson (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), James Grant (lead guitar, vocals), Neil Cunningham (bass), Paul McGeechan (keyboards), and Stuart Kerr (drums), Friends Again formed in 1982. The band produced three singles, Sunkissed, Honey at the Core, and State of Art on Moonbot Records before signing to Mercury Records. The group released a self-titled EP in 1983 and then recorded their debut album, Trapped and Unwrapped, in 1984. The LP explored the band's various musical influences, veering from '70s-style funk (Lullaby No. 2) to soulful balladry (Old Flame) sung with Thompson's David Bowie-esque croon. However, the LP received mixed reviews, namely for Bob Sargeant's slick production, and it was also a commercial failure. Longing for an outlet for his own songs, Grant left the group in 1984, and Friends Again immediately fell apart. Grant formed Love and Money in 1985, delving deeper in the funk, R&B, and country influences that guided Friends Again. McGeechan, Kerr, and Cunningham followed Grant in Love and Money while Thompson created The Bathers in 1987".

I've posted the extended version of one of those glorious first 3 singles

Sunkissed - Friends Again

Below is the video for State of Art - sadly the video hasn't dated half as well as the song!

And finally a live version of the third piece of perfect pop - big hair , sharp cheekbones and big guitars played with short shoulder straps how could it go wrong!!?


  1. I think that maybe you and I were the only ones that brought their debut...
    About ten years ago I was standing in a cinema cue for the Screen on Baker Street when Chris Thompson asked me for directions. I recognised him and we chatted a while before I led him to his destination; the excellent (now defunct) 'Cashmere Club' where The Bathers were playing. It was a shambolic gig that I just loved. I have all of The Bathers albums my favourite of which is probably 'Kelvingrove Baby' (sp?).Thompson was so prolific that I think he sometimes had problems with quality control so it was often hard to spot the gems. There is a 'Best of' 'Desire Regained' but beware that these are reinterpretations so might not be tht bastards that you loved.
    James Grant went on beyond the pretty derivative 'Love and Money' to produce one of my favourite albums; the sublime 'Sawdust in Our Veins'. Where are these two boys now? Probably writing songs with Boo...

  2. Blimey Trevor - you just about summed up this weeks postings!

    Kelvinggrove Baby is also my favourite - he toned down the Tom Waites a tad

    If you havent got it - James Grant's last lp Strange Flowers is fantastic - the tile track apparently written for a never made vampire film is stunning.

    At the moment James grant is touring with a reformed Love and money (think you are a tad harsh - the later lps are more mellow and reflective )

    Re the Bathers - it has been quiet for a worryingly long time ! Chris Thompson would be on my fantasy record label when if I won the lottery I've been warned off the best of before

    I can now comment on your website so something must have been fixed somewhere

  3. Guess what....Kelvingrove Baby is my favourite too.It's now 12 years since Pandamonia so I'm not holding my breath for anything new.
    I have all of James Grants solo output and like it all,and am looking forward to the new Love and Money album early next year.There's a free download from it on the Vertical Records site.It's a re-work of the track 'This is the last time'that appeared on 'Sawdust'.
    Oh,and I love Trapped and Unwrapped !
    Dare I say I love the new Glen Campbell album.Well worth checking out, especially the title track 'Ghost on the Canvas'
    Tel Aviv

  4. Sitting on the M40 returning from work recently I heard Campbell interviewed recently on Radio 5; his wife guided him through the questions as he is struggling with Parkinson's.
    When I got home I put on a compilation hoping for possibly my favourite all time song 'Wichita Lineman' only to get Rhinestone Cowboy coming out of the iPod. As I reached for the shuffle button I was stopped in my tracks by the power of the vocal; seriously, check out the vocal in the verses; awesome.
    Apparently his voice is unaffected by his condition; I'll be checking out his new album Phil...

  5. I had no idea he's suffering from Parkinsons.You're right his vocals aren't affected at all.
    Tel Aviv

    This is the you tube link for Ghost on the canvas

  7. Phil, sorry, not Parkinson's but Alzheimer's.
    Sad but stirring that he continues...


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