Friday, March 25, 2016

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter B, Part 11)

Not too many pieces of plastic from the Blue Nile on my shelf. I was a late convert to compact discs. In fact, I remember telling a friend in 1987 I would never buy a disc player. I caved about a year and a half later and in a big way. What followed was a slow but steady purge of my vinyl. Debut album 'A Walk Across the Rooftops' was in a stack of records I traded in on the very day I picked up its tiny shiny twin. By the time followup 'Hats' came out in late '89 I wasn't considering vinyl at all. So, all I'm left with on the superior format are the two 12" singles you see above. Let's take a listen to the two A-sides today. Apologies in advance to my dear friend George.

My listening habits were all over the place when I bought these in 1985. Punk, post-punk, power pop and synth pop were my primary interests, but I was rather taken by sophisti-pop. The primary difference between the Blue Nile and the other music I was into at that time was the blatant absence of a good hook. Most of the sounds coming from my stereo hit you over the head like a mallet. I was only 15, after all, but this music felt grown up. The beauty of the the songs "Stay" and "Tinseltown in the Rain" were in their subtlety. These were all about mood, atmosphere and nuance... and they were actually the more upbeat numbers from 'A Walk Across the Rooftops.'

There was a certain sadness and uncertainty that surrounded the entire proceedings. The lyric "Do I love you? Yes I love you, but it's easy come, and it's easy go, all this talking is only bravado" got into my head and it never left. This wasn't music I shared with my peers. This wasn't music that got played in the car. This was late-night music. Alone. That's the way I still listen to 'A Walk Across the Rooftops' today.

"Stay" (Extended Remix)
"Tinseltown in the Rain"

18 comments:

Echorich said...

I have to say I approached The Blue Nile's debut in much the same way. It was such very personal, moody and emotional music that I didn't want to share. It was music that got me as much as I got it and for that reason it became too special to share. I would soon find that a number of my friends discovered the same thing in A Walk Across The Rooftops that I had and it became something we could share - albeit not in an overt way.
When they played NYC's The Bottom Line in the summer of '90, a club in the classic sense of table and chairs and waitresses serving drinks, I went with 2 close friends and we sat at a table, not 15 feet from Paul Buchanan and the band. All those very personal, emotions and affections for their music came to a full blooming life hearing the songs live. It is one of my favorite and most memorable concert experiences to this day.

Luca said...

'Tinseltown In The Rain' is such a beautiful song..

George said...

Brian, as you say I'm no fan but you should hear Charity Chic rant about them!!!!!!!

kevinpat said...

So another band with the word Blue in it's title. I get very confused. And I make assumptions. True to what I think of *blue* this band is. I can understand how it's solitary music. I was intrigued. I checked out some samples and found sadness. It doesn't help that it's a rainy quiet Saturday morning here, so I quickly had to avert. I must say that I agree "Tinseltown in the Rain" is gorgeous. The images, the lyrics and that brooding plunking sound behind it. Captivating. I wanted to dance with a woman in a pretty dress to it, but my wife just awoke and said "You wanna what? Get outta here..." A guy can dream though. Pretty. Because everything is connected I hear a little Roxy Music there?? I see this band gets raves in other places too. I'll have to keep listening. But in spurts. I don't want to hurt myself....hehehehehe.

BTW Adblockers works like a charm so far. Thanks!

Brian said...

Echorich, It was nice to see the Blue Nile get a brief taste of success in America after Hats. I have never heard even one second of Buchanan's work live in person or on wax. Another memorable experience for your book.

Luca, Nice to hear from you again. Didn't know you were a fan.As you say, beautiful son.

George, I think you'll like the next installment a little better. Feel a little let down that you didn't really sock it to me. Working on a Monochrome Set mix for you.

Kevinpat, This is a pleasant surprise. So happy you took the time to listen. Tinseltown is the one they are remembered for, but it was far from a hit at the time. After a slow start the popularity of the entire album grew throughout the decade. I didn't discover until about a year after it came out myself. Saddens me that I traded my vinyl copy for the CD, but at least I have the singles.

charity chic said...

As George says I can't stand The Blue Nile
I confessed as much once in a post and was taken to task by Lucan among others!

George said...

CC, was that Lord Lucan?I KNEW he was still alive

Brian said...

I need to find that rant, CC. I didn't know. I recently learned about George's dislike only recently in the comments section of somebody's blog... maybe yours. Although I do like the Blue Nile, this is one I know is not for everyone. We can still be pals. Great songs at your place today. Soft spot for Nancy and Lee.

charity chic said...

http://www.charitychicmusic.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/tippi.html
Not much of a rant Brian.
They just irritate me. I don't like them
There are some bands that do that for me
I 'm sure I like some others can't stand - Springsteen for instance

Brian said...

Springsteen played here last night. Sixty-six years old and played for three hours and forty minutes uninterrupted. Amazing.

charity chic said...

It seems from my comments that both Luca and Lucan are in the clear
The Boss remains one of the world's best live acts

kevinpat said...

I love how we got to Springsteen here. As an old guy I love great American songwriters, of which I most admire of all his gifts, despite his ability to do nearly 4 live hours at 66! Springsteen, Dylan, Waits, Mitchell, Nyro, Joel, Taylor , Carole King (!!) and my fave Laura Nyro. HEY!! Who threw that shoe at me???!!!

Are you gonna kick me out the club??

Echorich said...

With Springsteen, it ends for me with Darkness On The Edge Of Town. And Candy's Room is probably my favorite Boss song.

Brian said...

As you can see from Echorich's comment, you have nothing to worry about. There are fans of nearly every artist you mentioned that stop by here. You should read the Swede waxing poetic about Dylan!

The Swede said...

Hah! I only wish I had the appropriate vocabulary to wax poetic, about Bob or any of the rest of my musical heroes, I never can seem to find adequate words though. I went to an intimate Alasdair Roberts gig over ten days ago, he's another of my big favourites, and I'm still trying to find a way to summarise just how awe inspiring the experience was.
As for Blue Nile, I'm afraid I was never a fan. I think it was the smoothness of the production that irrationally put me off at the time. I should really go back and give them another go though, as these songs are good and I enjoyed Paul Buchanan's stripped back solo album 'Mid Air' a couple of years ago.

JC said...

The Blue Nile are pish!!!!!!!

The most overrated act ever to come out of Scotland.....

Brian said...

JC, It's not like you to sit on the fence like this. Ha! Yes, I knew this one was risky. I have quite a few more like this to come, I'm afraid.

JC said...

Brian....don't apologise or be afraid. They're a band I've just never taken to but some of my closest friends with otherise impeccable taste in music, adore the band and indeed Paul Buchanan as a solo artist. Loving the way you're going about this Herculean task...