Tuesday, July 2, 2013

12 Inches of Love: 'Fire and Steel'

When China Crisis was around, my knowledge of the band was quite limited. I have vivid memories of seeing the video for "Working With Fire and Steel" very late at night when my town first got MTV in 1983. All of those synthesizers were right up my alley. I believe it was the closest the lads would ever come to a hit here in America. It peaked at No. 27 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Songs chart. Although I really liked it, I didn't buy the album. The scratch from my paper route afforded me the luxury of about two records a month (maybe three, if I didn't go to the movies). It didn't make the cut, but I never forgot the song. Years passed before I heard another song by them. Again, it was due to MTV. In 1986, I saw a video for "Arizona Sky" on a new program I was obsessed with called '120 Minutes.' I was pretty heavily into post-punk bands at the time, and the song didn't do much for me. Still, it reminded me how much I liked 'Fire and Steel' as a youngster, and I told myself if I ever saw the single I would pick up that "oldie."

Quite some time later I did find the four-song "Working With Fire and Steel" 12" maxi, and that's where you'll find this mix. This was my first China Crisis purchase, but it wasn't my last. From time to time, while digging through budget bins, I would come across the band's work. A buck here, a buck there, and now I have most of the band's '80s output. It took decades, but I think I might be a fan.

China Crisis - Fire and Steel (Mix) (mp3)

10 comments:

Uncle E said...

I had a very cool aunt who used to buy me vinyl for Birthdays and Christmas, and she got me the debut (Difficult Shapes) and I was hooked and bought everything as it came out up to Flaunt The Imperfection (which had the semi-hit King In A Catholic Style (Wake Up), that I thought did better in the Billboard charts than the title song from their second album, but not sure). I lost touch and moved on, and since I'm now in my mid 40's I've been reconnecting with a lot of these old loves, and rediscovering CC has been a joy! Thanks for the post!

Brian said...

Hey Uncle E. I'll try to do some digging on King in a Catholic Style. You may be right. Nice to meet the other China Crisis fan on this continent. Ha!

Brian said...

Hey again, Uncle E. I know King in a Catholic Style was a big hit in the UK, but I'm not finding a listing for it charting over here. That doesn't mean it didn't, I'm just not seeing it. If you find anything to the contrary, please let me know. I certainly don't want to pass along bad info. Thanks. Talk to you soon.

Echorich said...

I'm a massive China Crisis fan. From Difficult Shapes all the way through the last original release, Warped By Success, they have been one of my go to bands. Each release saw a broadening and reshaping of their sound.
I'm most enamoured of Working With Fire and Steel and Flaunt The Imperfection, but all the albums are really worth listening to.
When drummer Kevin Wilkinson committed suicide in 1999, I remember being very touched by the loss. It was like loosing a friend because their music has always been so dear to me.
Tragedy and Mystery from Working With Fire And Steel rates as one of my all time favorite songs.

Brian said...

Hi Echorich. I thought you might be into these chaps. I lost a lot of years I should have been listening to them, but at least I came around. My go to albums have been Working With Fire and Steel and Flaunt The Imperfection too... including the B-sides from that era. Do you know the two B-sides from this single, Dockland and Forever I and I? Dockland seems to be a favorite of die-hard fans.

Uncle E said...

Hey Brian -
No, I am definitely no expert when it comes to the charts, so there is a very real possibility I'm simply talking out of my posterior. Perhaps it was the college charts or, more specifically, MY college chart. Excellent post, good to know there's THREE of us CC fans out there. Side-note: Have you heard Destroyer's album Kaputt? I have yet to read a review where they cite China Crisis as an influence, but that to me was the primary one there. The overall vibe is pure CC, to me...

Brian said...

Uncle E, YOUR college chart has more cred in my book than the chart I referenced, Hot Dance Club Songs, where Billboard goes up to DJs and asks what they deemed worthy of spinning this week.

I really like your idea on Destroyer. I had not really thought of that, but now that you mention it...

Over to your blog now. Quite a 2013 list you have there. I'll leave a note tonight.

Uncle E said...

Yes, I was quite worried about that Stranglers album. I was extremely skeptical, as a matter of fact. Hugh Cornwell was a HUGE part of the Stranglers sound, IMO, but I gotta tell ya...I'm impressed with this one!

JC said...

have always thought 'Christian' was a lovely song.....

Brian said...

Ah, great pick, JC. That's going back, eh? I'll have to get that one up one of these days.