Monday, 13 May 2013

Desert Island Discs 6 Del Amitri by Del Amitri

6 Del Amitri by Del Amitri 1985

 Number 6 is one of those lps that pretty much sets the template for most of the music I like - jangly guitars and pretentious lyrics (full of meaning or meaningless depending on your point of view) , add in a focus on melody , some interesting right turns, a dash of melancholy and love gone wrong songs and you have my perfect band or album

I've written about this lp before and I've not really got that much to add so being lazy this is a slightly extended post of something that appeared 3 years ago.

Once upon a time Del Amitri used to have short hair and wear jumpers. They sounded more like Orange Juice and Aztec Camera than Neil Young. They released a couple of singles and a self titled debut lp before frustrated at the lack of recognition and being dropped by their record label they undertook a never ending US tour often sleeping on fans floors after the gigs and came back with sideburns and guitar solos and finally a hit in "Nothing Ever Happens"

The Waking Hours is a great lp but feels like it is by a different band. Their debut sparkles. Lead singer Justin Currie describes the bands philosophy of the time as "No chords, No choruses, no distortion, no synthesizers and no long hair, melody was god". - the polar opposite of the band they would become
He goes on to say "There are more tunes between the twin guitars and the basslines in one backing track from this era than in every top line melody I've written since".

A lot of credit must go to the "god like" Hugh Jones who keeps the guitar sounds crisp and clear , with every note

On the re-release Justin Currie ends his sleeve noted by saying "Too many fucking words though", but for me the more the better!

I bought this when it came out in 1985 and loved it ever since. My copy came with a poster of the cover art which now sits proudly framed on our landing.

The lp starts with a rush of descending notes on a guitar and never lets ups

Heard Through a Wall - Del Amitri
As well as the frantic strums there are some killer slow songs , the best of which Keepers about over loving and Former Owner , not loving quite enough.

Keepers - Del Amitri

why are you craving
to be free from loves slavery

Former Owner - Del Amitri

Just as the early bird catches the worm
The Early cat catches the bird
That former owner is keeping his word

These lines sum up the whole lp. If I heard them  for the first time now I'd cringe a bit but they are so ingrained and linked to being 18 that they remain perfect

If you've not heard this incarnation of Del Amitri then give them a go. If you are a fan of the mid atlantic later stuff then you're probably in for a surprise

I'll end with a quote from the bio Justin Currie's put in his myspace page (again lifted from another post I'm afraid)

Justin Currie was born in a van near Paisley in 1964 in a hailstorm so vicious that it took a team of panel beaters a month to separate his forehead from the roof. Later on, perhaps in the nineteen eighties he started to sing in a strange breathless way, cramming too many words into odd amounts of bars and found himself, with his group of twee schoolboy punks, Del Amitri, getting firmly up the collective nose of the Glasgow white-soul cognoscenti. Much more loathed than loved, and revelling in their outsider status, Del Amitri attracted a dense little coterie of followers in the United States of America who duly set up a nationwide tour funded by busking, badge selling and the refrigerators of those fans' generous parents. Driven half-mental by their experiences the group came home, ditched their indie twiddling and embarked upon a course of songwriting so sickeningly mainstream and Americanised that it led to a long career being spoilt stupid by the radio and recording industries of the English speaking world. Limos to the pub, ponds full of chips, week-long parties in Bognor, that sort of thing.

You can buy the lp here


  1. - Now I'm feeling guilty. I'm afraid I've committed a few accounting errors within my Top 30. My method of cobbling together a list was sloppy. I made a list of 125 fave albums, then during a few apparently "impaired" sessions, assigned a ranking to each entry. Much too late I discovered my error, having 2 entries at #24, 2 at #21, and 2 at #19. 'Waking Hours' was my #19 pick, but so was 16 Lovers Lane!!! Sadly, rather than bend rules, Del Amitri became a casualty of of my boner...

    I've never heard pre-Waking Hours Del Amitri. Nothing included on 'Hatful Of Rain' so I presumed inferior material. You're right, sounds like a completely different band. Hard to believe that's Justin! Nothing on Youtube to sample, but the clips you posted sound really good. The guitars have almost an early Prefab Sprout/Trashcans sound? I think I'll have to pick it up and just tune out the comparison to later AOR stuff.

    #6 - BLUE NILE - "HATS" (1989)

    - I appear to be "low" with both Prefab Sprout & Blue Nile! I'll surrender my usual clumsy rambling, to the articulate pundits...

  2. I seem to remember your boner getting you in trouble before!

  3. A casualty of your boner?
    Are we back on knob jokes TT?
    As for this Del Amitri debut David; I brought it after Waking Hours and dismissed it; probably because it didn't sound like Waking Hours. Ladder down, back up the attic, a now familiar journey. If I can put my hand on it I'll suck it and see...

  4. Come on, don't be so hard on me... perfectly innocent term here across the pond. I guess I'll have to remember to be more discreet when exposing it here...

  5. Considering that we haven't heard from David yet your defense is premature as well as limp.

  6. Premature as in half-cocked?

  7. That's a bit cheesy. Blue veined in fact...

  8. I am thinking of having a new strapline something like the blog that creates a boner , should get my reader numbers up although it may lead to a lot of disappointed visitors

  9. It would certainly stop them from rolling out of bed...

  10. Bugger...Completely forgot about this debut. If I'd remembered it would have made my list. I don't own anything else by Del Amitri, always thought it was downhill after this magnificent intro. Shades of Aztec Camera and 'Swoon' era Sprouts.Love the rollicking 'Sticks and Stones, Girl'.
    Although I don't have any other Del Amitri albums I do have a couple of Justin Currie solo discs that are excellent , especially the debut 'What Is Love For'.
    # 6 James Grant - My Thrawn Glory. Most peoples favourite seems to be his debut'Sawdust', but this just about outdoes it, I think. Love the soaring 'Dark Country',that's up there with 'Pray the Dawn' and 'This Could Be The Day' as the best of his solo output.
    More lush and string driven than his debut, it has all the Grant hallmarks. Tinge of Country, touch of blues and smattering of gospel. Wonderfully downbeat.
    Another favourite on an album full of favourites 'Does it all add up to nothing'
    Tim - Aztec Camera, done. Prefab Sprout, done. and now The Blue Nile. Fascinated to see your top 5!

    1. Phil, you're full of surprises... First snubbing poor old Lloyd (OK, he's not really Scottish.) But I would've bet the farm that Del Amitri would tick the boxes and be near the top of your list. Downhill??? You've gotta pick up Hatful Of Rain and give it another listen. One of the best Best Of's ever!
      Ditto David, giving Pearlies & James Grant the brush off! I'm not scolding. It's just that my preconceptions are so off!

      That being said, I'm sure you'll be scratching your head when you see a couple of my Top 5 picks!!!

    2. I think 4 of my top 5 are very predictable. I think i got stuck on both pearlfishers and jg in that they both have great lps with fantastic songs on but couldn't really pick a stand out one. There isn't one go to lp i tend to flit around them all

  11. Another big miss from me . Not sure how i didn't find a place for a jg solo lp. Maybe because i kept wanting a new love and money lp? Saw him tour this lp at a,small venue and his voice and guitar playing were as sublime as you,d expect. I was thinking the same about time top5 !

  12. Brace yourselves.
    I'm thinking Golden Earing's difficult 3rd album...

  13. A couple of left-field personal favorites in my 5...

    PS: Can Trev vote for himself?

  14. Why would I vote for that prick?

  15. Sometimes I've felt like the only person in the world who loves this album. Probably because I was but 15, none of the others touched it for me, though I enjoy a lot of their later stuff. Always think Justin is hugely underrated as a songwriter & he has one of the purest male voices I've heard live. I'm working my way backwards from no1 & I'm beginning to think you've stolen my musical taste!


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