Thursday, September 4, 2014

Razorcuts on Caff

This is probably my favorite song to come from Bob Stanley's legendary label. Razorcuts had quite the pedigree -- Subway Organisation, Creation, Flying Nun -- and a concluding single with Caff always seemed fitting. The four songs on "Sometimes I Worry About You" were early demos salvaged from the original masters at Redchurch Recordings in London.

As you can imagine, this is a tough find. Currently, there are three of these singles for sale on Discogs starting at a pricey $65. I'm lucky enough to have this one, but when I attempted to transfer it to digital form for this post, well, let's just say my turntable wasn't as enamored with the single as I am. Then I recalled, hot on the heels of its wonderful but woefully out of print 'R is for... Razorcuts' compilation in 2003, Matinée Recordings had revived a couple of these songs for the "A Is For Alphabet" EP in 2003. I was shocked to find it was still available from the label. So, for this occasion, I snagged one.

Stanley contributed to the liner notes of the aforementioned 'R is for... Razorcuts.' Here is a condensed version of his wonderful prose (apologies to the author for chopping it up a bit). It not only succinctly tells the story of the band, but it sums up the entire feeling of the music scene at the time.

Things had been bleak.

The screaming low point of Band Aid's Xmas 45 pushed buttons nationwide. Fuck this. A back to basics insurrection of the three B's (Beatles, Beach Boys, Byrds) gave Britain a new wave of treble-laden beat... Red and black, the colours of the Angry Brigade and the sleeve of Your Generation, were the colours of the new wave's offspring; key fanzine Hungry Beat and a rash of polythene-bagged ruff pop 45s. DIY not EMI was the clarion call.

Pretty early on came the Razorcuts' debut of Big Pink Cake (Ronettes drums added to the B recipe) backed with I'll Still Be There. The latter still stands apart from its contemporaries thanks to its Mies Van Der Rohe-like simplicity - tambourine, twelve-string plangent harmonies. I can hear little else. "In love or despair, you know I'll still be there." For a generation of would-be Roger McGuinns and Jean Sebergs, this was our song.

This was a medium as suited to singles and EPs as it was to informal venues like The Coal Hole on The Strand or The Black Horse on Royal College street. Fanzines and phone numbers were swapped. The atmosphere was fervently anti-rock - Razorcuts concerts often had the feeling of a social. Short-term revolutions and lifelong friendships were hatched. Two more grade A singles - Sorry to Embarrass You and I Heard You The First Time - prefaced a Razorcuts deal with Creation. Creation's philosophy was different: the boys 'planed it to Leamington Spa to record two LPs but no further singles. If this lost them pop momentum it at least paved the way for the baroquerie of Gregory's Carousel and Tim's Red Chair Fadeaway. But by this time new action was to be found in Manchester dungeons and the balmy Balearics.

Finally, here is the lead song from CAFF10, officially released in 1990. "Sometimes I Worry About You" is a 16-track demo recorded on Oct. 24, 1984. The other three songs on the EP were demos from late 1985 and early 1986, including "Sorry To Embarrass You." You may know that one because it was rerecorded for Subway in '86 and became a Top 10 indie hit.

Razorcuts - Sometimes I Worry About You

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