Wednesday, February 28, 2018

ABCs of My Vinyl Collection (Letter G, Part 2)

In the '80s, you could probably count the number of Scandinavian bands I had in my collection on one hand. My, how times have changed, particularly this century. Back then, Copenhagen-based Gangway were quite an anomaly. I saw a video for their '88 single "My Girl and Me" and fell hard for their aesthetic. This was a big hit in Denmark, and it should have been in the UK and America too. With the benefit of hindsight, I realize the music is awfully slick and of its time, but I still love the lyrics. Part playful, part dark and oh so very, well, Scandinavian. Here's the chorus:

My girl and me we hang around in bars
and we're usually drunk but never too drunk
to fight like cats and dogs all night

After buying the album 'Sitting in the Park', I soon discovered many of the songs were re-recordings of a 1986 album out on Danish indie label Irmgardz. It took some doing, but I eventually found the earlier album and was shocked to hear the originals. This is an old story that comes up many times in our collections, but hearing that indie album up against the antiseptic polish of the newer edition on London Records left me thinking either Gangway had been swayed by all that major-label flash or they left their hearts at the fancy studio door because the '86 version of 'Sitting in the Park' sounded much better to these ears... then and now. See if you agree.

"My Girl and Me" (From 'Sitting in the Park')
"My Girl and Me" (From 'Sitting in the Park Again')

Now I'll leave with you with my favorite song from the original 'Sitting in the Park'. Again, here are some wonderfully bizarre lyrics that have you feeling a pop song like this could have only come from that part of the world. It sounds so uplifting, and yet...

"Once Bitten, Twice Shy"

Last night I had a terrible dream
I dreamt I was present at your funeral
the scent of carnations pleased my mind
the sound from the organ filled me with joy
I was so pleased by your death
I was so happy at your funeral
But seeing you now fills me with remorse
I'm trying so hard to show that I like you
my tap on your shoulder makes me embarrassed
I'm laughing and joking a little too much
you're like a Sunday afternoon
you fill me with sadness, depression and gloom


The Swede said...

I don't recognise either of the songs, but the London Records sleeve rings a very distant bell, so possibly it sat in the racks of my shop for a bit back in 1988. I agree with you that the re-recording of 'My Girl & Me' is far too smooth when compared to the original. The lyrics of 'Once Bitten Twice Shy' suggest that the song could be a maudlin dirge, but it goes to show you never can tell.

Rol said...

Love those lyrics. Gonna have to investigate this lot further.

JC said...

I had a feeling that Rol would fall for these......

Not my cup of earl grey. Sorry.