Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Love and Dancing

I have written here before of my love of American folk music and acoustic singer-songwriters, but I do not think I have mentioned my secret weakness for 1980s synthpop. I consider it secret because my Wife hates it, so I usually end up playing it when she is not around. Fortunately, my five-year-old daughter seems to like it too, and we are often to be found bopping in the kitchen to Erasure, The Human League, Yazoo (known as Yaz in the US), OMD, Depeche Mode or The Thompson Twins.

As a late-adopter of CDs, I have a huge collection of vinyl records at my parents' house in England, left there because of the expense and difficulty in getting them over to the US. Among the collection is an album from 1982 called Love and Dancing, which is billed as being by "The League Unlimited Orchestra." I recently obtained a copy of the album, which was always very dear to my heart, and it has made me insanely happy.

Love and Dancing is essentially an album of dance remixes of tracks from the influential Dare album, which was made in 1981 by the Sheffield band, The Human League. It was one of the very first remix albums, a producer project, and as such was groundbreaking. Martin Rushent, the producer of Dare, put it together the hard way, by cutting up tapes. Rushent is now 61 and back producing after retiring from the business.

Listening again to this album after so long instantly transported me back to the eighties. I fondly remember a street performer in London's Covent Garden doing a fantastic but hilarious robotic dance to tracks from the album. Its stuttering style was perfect for the purpose. I have been playing it rather a lot just recently, so it is a good job my daughter likes it. My Wife does not, and when I asked my Brother in England what he thought of it, he said that he always preferred the original. So, perhaps I am pretty much on my own. I did ask on Twitter and Facebook if anyone remembered it and one friend in England (Hi Paul!) said he does have the album and likes it.

Getting this album has prompted me to get the rest of The Human League's albums (some of which I had on vinyl in England). It has also got me catching up with some of my other favorite artists of that period. It has even got me checking out web-resources about old synthesizers (I used to play synths myself in the eighties). I think you could say this was an influential album for me.

If you have any interest in Love and Dancing or The Human League, I discovered that a cool CD containing both Dare and Love and Dancing was released in 2002. That is a bargain!

Do you have favorite music from your past that instantly conjures up a particular period in time for you? Please do share by making a comment.


Pazcual said...

For me, each moment of my life has a song or an album. I love music, I think without it I feel...empty. Normal. Which is weird, but well I am weird. So one album or song...Mmmh my favourite singer is Jorge Drexler, he is from Urugay. Most of his songs helped me to think and act when my aunt died of cancer last year. I love his music, his way of singing..It's awesome.

I will find this album to listen it, it seems interesting. Plus, who knows? knowing me, I might end as a fan of it!



Cindy O said...

I never heard the term synthpop before. So, I looked it up and well, yeah, I like Pink Floyd, Genesis, Emerson,Lake and Palmer, ELO and Alan Parsons Project! Probably not quite the same bands as you think of when you think synchpop, but to each his own!

Graham said...

@Pazcual - Music is a big part of my life too. I've not heard of Jorge Drexler before, but I'm listening to him here: Jorge Drexler - I like it so far, although I don't understand the lyrics.

You can get a bit of a taste of The Human League, and the Dare Album here:

Dare+Love and Dancing

@Cindy O - Those bands are progressive rock, rather than synthpop, though they were among the first bands to use synthesizers.

Carrie B said...

My husband's favorite band is Depeche Mode. I personally do not understand why Mark Mothersbaugh is not a household name.

Carrie B

Graham said...

@Carrie B: Your husband has good taste!

I am ashamed to admit that I had to look up Mark Motherbaugh, however! I was barely aware of Devo while I was in the UK. His musical career since seems very prolific. Clifford the Big Red Dog, indeed!