THE BACHELOR PAD/BABY LEMONADE: Girl Of Your Dreams/Jiffy Neckwear Creation (7″, Sha-la-la BA BA BA-BA BA 003, 1987)

The Bachelor Pad/Baby Lemonade flexi

I’ve called this a 7″ in the title up there, but the flexi itself isn’t actually seven inches in diameter like a ‘real’ seven-inch single – it’s slightly smaller, perhaps 6″ in diameter? I’ve refrained from calling it a 6″ though, despite having such a category set up on here, because it’s packaged in a typical wraparound sleeve, the likes of which would house a seven inch single. So that makes sense, eh? My categorisation and pigeonholing technique is unstoppable!

I have several of the Sha-la-la flexis, but none were bought at the time of release and so none come with whatever fanzines they were bundled with. As far as I know, they weren’t each bundled with a specific fanzine – what tended to be the case is that, say, 1,000 flexis were produced, and then batches given to a variety of fanzine folks to give away with their wares. (Indeed, back in my fanzine-writing days, several times I was pleasantly surprised by receiving in the post a batch of unexpected flexis and records, with the instruction to help spread the word by giving them away!)

Sha-la-la was, of course, a precursor to Sarah Records, and indeed many of the bands that appeared on Sha-la-la flexis went on to also release records on Sarah. In the case of this one, though, neither The Bachelor Pad or Baby Lemonade did so. Sha-la-la flexis gave one side each of their wraparound sleeves over to the two bands they featured; the image above shows The Bachelor Pad’s side, with Wilfrid Brambell pictured, he of course of Steptoe And Son and A Hard Day’s Night fame. The Baby Lemonade side is a far more typical indie-pop-wraparound-sleeve kind of image – it shows a Warhol-style repetitive image of a toy ray gun, printed in basic two-colour style.

Let’s use the magic of Google to find out an interesting fact about these two bands.

Searching for “the bachelor pad band” yields an interesting interview with the band, carried out by the Cloudberry Cake Proselytism website/fanzine, that describes some of the fanzine/music scene they were involved in at the time of this record (and before), including reference to the legendary Splash One club in Glasgow run in the early-to-mid 1980s by Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream and Jesus & Mary Chain. It also turns up this great promo video for The Bachelor Pad’s ‘Country Pancake’:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJ0lWp8zJv8]

Lovely!

“baby lemonade band” – the ‘band’ bit is required to sidestep a whole load of Syd Barrett-related results coming up – initially led me to the website of a different Baby Lemonade (this one) and, well, not much else. Anybody got interesting links and factoids to do with Baby Lemonade?

VARIOUS: Touchdown (LP, Fontana TOUCH 1, 1982)

Various - Touchdown

Funny old compilation album, this one – record labels used to do quite a lot of ‘themed’ albums in the 1980s, although often more musically similar in theme, rather than having an out-and-out thread that tied together a disparate collection of bands. Touchdown isn’t a collection that’s built around the idea of the Moon landing; or somehow related to American football – it isn’t really even bands that all have the instrumentation pictured on the front cover’s rather fetching illustration. The theme here seems to be ‘bands from the early 1980s that were all doing, to varying degrees, a kind of spiky, energetic post-punk-pop music’. It features…

  • The Higsons
  • Farmers Boys
  • Animal Magic
  • Popular Voice
  • Maximum Joy
  • Vital Excursions
  • Dislocation Dance
  • Design For Living
  • Pinski Zoo

…and each band gets a track. A few of those names are familiar from some dusty old editions of Record Collector, perhaps, but it’s The Higsons that’s most likely to be oddly familiar. They featured Charlie Higson, who would of course later go on to forge a very successful career in comedy, becoming a key part of the team behind The Fast Show as well as having a hand in many other shows. You can even see him, as a cheeky youngster, in a photograph on the back of the sleeve. He looks very ‘of the time’ – short, messy hair, a rough-looking shirt/denim combination that reminds of the days before all non-mainstream band members wore t-shirts and jeans 95% of the time, and instead had to make do with what was then available in shops. That looks remind me, very specifically, of seeing bands appearing in the middle of episodes of The Young Ones.

THE GOLDEN DAWN: George Hamilton’s Dead (7″, Sarah SARAH 17, 1989)

The Golden Dawn - George Hamilton's Dead

Another seven inch single on Sarah Records. I guess there’s a stronger chance of such releases being the ones that pop up as a randomly-selected choice, because there are a lot of them in my collection!

This The Golden Dawn isn’t the 1960s The Golden Dawn, of course, who released the outstanding psychedelic LP Power Plant. Perhaps I’ll talk about them on here at some point in the future – it’s all in the hands of the random number generator, as you know… This The Golden Dawn do have a bit of a psychedelic edge, I have to admit, although it’s shot through with a healthy dose of indie-pop simplicity and lightness. The Golden Dawn and 14 Iced Bears were two of the Sarah bands that I liked the most – they seemed to have a slight edge that took them beyond the most straightforward indie-pop, and in their case it took them into a somewhat 60s-tinged edge that pressed my buttons during the early ’90s. (Of course, the entire C86, indie-pop and fanzine scene had a rather healthy obsession with the 1960s – but generally it seemed to take the form of the imagery or personalities of the time, rather than directly influencing the music).

As with most of the Sarah releases before roughly SARAH 40 or so, this record included a poster insert. It shows The Golden Dawn with a selection of high-contrast monochrome photographs, which reflect the style (and, more specifically, haircuts), that were so popular around the time because of bands like Jesus And Mary Chain and Primal Scream. At this time, all that a good band photograph needed was a couple of bowl haircuts, a paisley shirt or two, a slightly otherworldly look around the eyes and a lot of contrast.

The other insert included in the record is one of Sarah’s ‘also for sale’ lists, in the form of a long, thin, folded piece of paper. Even at the time of this record coming out, SARAHs 1 through 10, 13 and 14 had all sold out. The rest were still available, though, for the fantastic price (including postage) of just £1.70 apiece. The insert also reports that Heavenly’s ‘I Fell In Love Last Night’ was just about to be released – a record that would nicely bridge the gap between the ‘old days’ of Talulah Gosh and the new sound of Heavenly, who would become intertwined with Riot Grrrl and quite heavily influence a lot of bands and musicians.